More than €1.48 billion in damages paid by State after claims related to health service since 2018

Some 10,038 healthcare-related claims were received by the State Claims Agency between 2018 and 2022

More than €1.48 billion was paid out in damages by the State after claims arising from adverse incidents in the health service over five years.

The figures were provided to Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín, who argued that the health service is “on its knees” and that there is “dysfunction” in the system.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly outlined the compensation payments data in a written answer to a parliamentary question from Mr Tóibín.

Mr Donnelly set out how the State Claims Agency (SCA) manages personal injury claims on behalf of State authorities including the Health Service Executive (HSE).


The data provided to the Dáil included information on claims and damages for the General Indemnity Scheme and the Clinical Indemnity Scheme in relation to healthcare. It includes all HSE and voluntary healthcare locations on the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

In total there were 10,038 healthcare related claims received by the SCA between 2018 and 2022, including 1,858 last year. That is down from 2,226 claims in 2019 which saw the highest number of claims during the five-year period.

The SCA figures show damages payments made on healthcare claims of €1.48 billion between 2018 and 2022. The highest sum, €351,810,953, was paid in 2022 and the sums increased each year other than a drop in 2020.

The data for the paid damages relates to payments made in each of the years 2018 to 2022 and may include payments for claims received by the State in the years prior to 2018.

Mr Tóibín said: “Our health service is on its knees, with waiting lists sky high, and staff in our hospitals overworked like never before.”

He added: “Behind each one of these adverse incidents there is a citizen of this country that has been damaged by the dysfunction in the health service.

“These adverse incidents can be as severe as the death of a patient.

“Given the stress our hospitals are under, the lack of funding, investment and the staffing crisis in many of our hospitals it is hardly surprising to see that the amount paid out in compensation has been rising consistently year-on-year.”

Mr Tóibín suggested that pay and conditions for nurses “needs to be examined properly” and the “flow of emigration” among nursing graduates needs to be stopped.

He said the Census has shown Ireland’s population has risen significantly but added “our bed capacity, staffing levels and investment in our hospitals has not increased to match the population increase”.

A Department of Health spokesman said the Government approved the establishment of an Interdepartmental Working Group to examine the rising cost of health-related claims and consider mechanisms to reduce costs last January. “The group has commenced its work.”

The Department added the group “is chaired independently by an expert healthcare professional, Dr Rhona Mahony, and is comprised of membership from across key Government departments and agencies”.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times