The number of patients accusing their GPs of medical negligence has increased sharply over the past year. GP negligence cases are up by 20%.
The Medical Defence Union, which provides insurance to more than half of Britain’s family and hospital doctors and also insures GPs in Ireland, has said that it has opened almost 20% new litigation files on GPs in 2010.
It says claims were up overall but the “most marked rise was in General Practice”. The most common accusation against GPs concerned late or wrong diagnosis, along with failure to refer to specialists and errors in medication.
The MDU in a statement said “we have long been aware of the rising costs of compensation but the increase in the number of claims notified to us is a more recent trend which follows a period of relative stability in this area. The current difficult economic times may also be a factor. We see no evidence however, of any deterioration in standards of care or in the professional relationships between our GP members and their patients”.
Speaking about the latest figures coming from the UK Liam Moloney, Solicitor in Naas, said “it is surprising to see the increase in the number of medical negligence claims against GPs in the UK. It is not clear as to whether the same increase has taken place in Ireland in 2010. The number of new medical negligence cases in Ireland continues to grow as patients become more aware of their rights”.