Dáil Éireann - Volume 586 - 26 May, 2004
Written Answers - Compensation Payments.
Mr. Sherlock Mr. Sherlock
101. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress that has been made by the working group on the development of a no-fault compensation system for birth damaged children; when he expects the group to report; if he will seek to expedite the introduction of proposals in this area, having regard to the recent awards in the High Court and the increasing difficulties facing practitioners and especially obstetricians in finding insurance cover; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15604/04]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin:The advisory group examining the feasibility of introducing a no-fault compensation scheme for brain damaged infants has met regularly since its establishment in July 2001. The group has conducted an extensive investigation of the clinical and legal issues involved in the handling of those cases. It has also examined existing levels of service provision for those affected by cerebral damage.
The group received a presentation by parents of children affected by cerebral damage on the day to day implications of providing care for them at home. It has also examined prevention strategies and the effects of reforms introduced in  the United Kingdom on the handling of claims for compensation for injuries resulting from the provision of clinical care. As the group has already indicated its intention of completing its work by the end of this year, it would not be appropriate to ask it to expedite the process.
The Government has already taken measures to ensure that professional indemnity cover for all consultants in the private sector remains affordable. The cover which consultants, with the exception of obstetricians, need to purchase is capped at €1 million in respect of each and every claim against them. In the case of obstetricians, the cover which they need to purchase is capped at €500,000 in each and every case, with the further protection of an annual and aggregate cap for each doctor of €1.5 million. As a result of these measures, Irish consultant obstetricians in private practice pay €100,000 per annum for their cover rather than the true economic rate of €350,000.
Dáil Éireann 586 Written Answers Compensation Payments.