Inadequate staffing and clinical errors

Sir, – The news from the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) that the State's outstanding liability for personal injury to clinical negligence cases has almost doubled to €4 billion since 2016 is astonishing (Business, June 21st).

We currently have 728 unfilled consultant posts in Irish hospitals. It cannot surprise anyone that inadequate staffing and misallocation of resources have led to more errors, with an inevitable escalation in negligence costs. These costs are further escalated by health service management’s policy of “deny and delay”, leading to lengthy legal cases (and increased legal fees). This deny-and-delay policy also prevents lessons being applied, resulting in entirely avoidable repeat errors.

Irish health service management’s myopic focus on short-term cost-cutting is resulting in huge long-term liabilities that ultimately will have to be borne by the Irish taxpayer. This policy is leading to Irish doctors moving to Sydney, Toronto and Auckland while Irish patients end up in the High Court attempting to obtain funding for care that is required as a result of, in many cases, entirely preventable errors. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 18.