PIAB says €10m reserves could be used to fund alternative for medical negligence cases
Committee told non-adversarial mechanism for medical negligence cases could result in ‘substantial financial savings’ for State
Dorothea Dowling of the Personal Injuries Assesment Board: said that due to efficiencies achieved by the organisation, it had over €10 million in financial reserves.
An alternative way of dealing with medical negligence cases could be set up at no cost and result in “substantial financial savings” for the State, the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has heard.
The chairwoman of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), Dorothea Dowling, said that, due to efficiencies achieved by the organisation in the decade since its foundation, it had over €10 million in financial reserves.
“Those funds were raised in accordance with our legislation solely for the purposes of assessing personal injury claims. This, we suggest, presents Government with an ideal opportunity to establish, at zero set-up cost, an alternative to the courts for medical negligence claims as was originally intended.”
Ms Dowling said such claims had not originally been included under the PIAB’s remit due to unrelated negotiations happening around that time. This was not an attempt by the PIAB to take “over the role of the State Claims Agency” which, she said, had a very different role, but was “about extending the option of suitable cases to be resolved quickly without adversarial litigation and costs”.
Ms Dowling said medical negligence claims encompassed slips, trips and falls in hospitals and on other medical premises. “What we’re saying is that there should be an option for claimants who happen to have a slip, trip or fall [on medical premises] . . . to have the same redress option as any other claimant and that is to come into the non-adversarial PIAB system.”
Chief executive Patricia Byron said there “must be an option to save the taxpayer more money” in medical negligence cases. She said prompt investigation, similar to the way things are handled in other environments, such as offices and supermarkets, could be carried out in hospitals. While this would not apply in all such claims, it would be the case in many of them.
In the almost 10 years since PIAB began, it claims to have saved over €1 billion through non-adversarial processing of personal injury claims.