Irishhealth.com has learned that a total of 52 serious healthcare errors and medical mistakes are being investigated around the country. The HSE has drawn up a list and has given it to the State Health Safety watchdog.
According to the document, which is a HSE register of enquiries and reviews into serious healthcare incidents, 12 of the cases that were being actively investigated were serious enough to have “systemic implications” and to involve “public confidence issues”.
The list has been given to the Health Information and Equality Authority (HIQA). The list was given after HIQA completed its independent investigation into services at Ennis General Hospital. This investigation followed the controversy over the case of Ann Moriarty, who died from breast cancer after twice being given the all clear by the hospital. According to the serious incident list of the 52 cases, 18 had been “screened and closed”, 12 being probed had been classified as serious enough to raise public confidence, systemic issues and a further 12 probes were deemed “serious but essentially local”.
Of the hospital cases 6 of the cases involved radiology, 3 of them are listed as “screened and closed”, a further two were being actively probed under the serious “public confidence issues” heading while a further case was being assessed. According to statistics from the State’s Clinical Indemnity Scheme, a total of 55,073 adverse healthcare incidents were reported in 2007. This figure is likely to exceed 100,000 in 2011. The majority of the incidents are not believed to include treatment errors and many come under the heading of violence or harassment, trips or falls and records/ documentation incidents.
According to the Clinical Indemnity Scheme which provides State insurance for hospitals and other health agencies, a total of 431 medical negligence claims were submitted to it arising from adverse incidents in 2007. This figure is likely to have increased to over 600 for 2011.
Liam Moloney, Naas based medical negligence Solicitor, commented on the figures, “the number of medical errors and mistakes continues to rise. The absence of a civil legal aid scheme in Ireland to assist the victims of medical mistakes makes it harder for victims to get justice. Many patients simply want an honest explanation when an adverse incident occurs. Often patients are left with no option but to take legal action against hospitals and doctors to get answers. The State should ensure a level playing field by introducing a fully funded civil legal aid scheme to help the victims of medical errors and medical negligence.”