On 27th January 2015 Michael Boylan, Managing Partner and head of our Medical Negligence Department, appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children to address the committee on the question of The Challenge of Rising Costs of Professional Medical Indemnity Insurance. The Oireachtas Committee was investigating this issue on foot of concerns raised by The State Claims Agency and The Medical Protection Society, a doctor’s protection organisation. The hearing took place over the course of two sessions, on the 22nd January 2015 and 27th January 2015.
Michael’s opening remarks to the Committee can be viewed on the video above.
Click here for the full text of Michael’s Opening Statement.
In the course of his address to the Committee, Michael advocated strongly for the protection of the rights of the patient above concerns arising out of the financial consequences of medical negligence on Doctors and their indemnifiers. Michael also argued for the introduction of a legal “Duty of Candour” on medical professionals in order to ensure open disclosure when preventable medical accidents occur. The international experience is that such a duty leads to a decrease in the number of patients taking medical negligence actions which in turn would obviously lead to a significant reduction in the costs of insurance for Doctors. However, even more importantly, this would facilitate greater learning from those mistakes that are made and can also help to preserve good patient/doctor relationships.
We at Augustus Cullen Law are particularly pleased to note the comments of the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD, when he subsequently addressed the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on 5th February 2015. Minister Varadkar confirmed to the Committee that doctors and health professionals will be obliged by law to tell patients where mistakes or accidents take place in their treatment. Of note, the Minister said it was the equivalent of a motoring “hit and run” for doctors and health professionals to fail to make such disclosures and to live up to their duty of candour.
We now look forward to the introduction of the necessary legislation to place this Duty of Candour on a statutory footing.
To view the Committee hearings in full please click on the below links:-
17 February 2015