Saturday, July 23, 2011

1 Bn. for Compensation Claims against State, Clinical Negligence Bill = 812 million

About 1 billion euros set aside to cover claims made against the state, according to the Independent:
... the State Claims Agency (SCA) has revealed it is currently handling 4,472 legal actions of which more than 45pc relate to medical negligence.
When established in December 2001, the SCA expected to handle 1,000 cases a year.
However, since being delegated to handle child sexual abuse cases in July 2002, Army deafness claims in September 2005 and the management of HSE claims in January 2010, the number of cases has soared to more than four times that estimate.

The Agency's mandate, according to the National Treasury Management Agency Act 2000, is to "manage claims so as to ensure that the State's liability and associated legal and other expenses are contained at the lowest achievable level; and to provide risk advisory services to State authorities with the aim of reducing over time the frequency and severity of claims." Its raison d'etre is to minimise liability so the size of the 1 billion figure is not necessarily an indication that large sums are being paid in compensation. But it does raise some questions about whether it is fulfilling its charge of providing advice to "reduc[e] the frequency and severity of claims."

According to the Indo's report, the major chunk of the 1 billion allocation is for 1,994 clinical-negligence cases - €812m. Previous posts on the government's attempts to reduce costs in medical negligence cases are here and here.