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IHCA backs Committee findings

25 Jun 2015

The IHCA has welcomed the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee’s acknowledgement that medical indemnity insurance costs are a strategic challenge for the health sector and that costs are prohibitively expensive for many medical consultants.

The Association has backed the Committee’s recommendations on the need to reform the law, introduce pre-action protocols and implement lower medical indemnity caps to reduce indemnity costs in private practice.

The IHCA said it was continuing to engage with the Department of Health, the State Claims Agency and others to progress these recommendations.
The cost of clinical indemnity has doubled for certain specialties in the past two years. Recently, clinical indemnification charges payable by consultants in private practice increased on average by around 40 per cent.

The risk categories that include most surgical specialties and obstetrics increased by between 54 per cent and 68 per cent.

These increases in 2014 were on top of increases of between 49 per cent and 67 per cent implemented since 2008, including increases of up to one-third in 2013 alone.

“Indemnity charges have increased to unaffordable levels for consultants in private practice,” the IHCA said.

Approximate annual charges of €337,000 apply in obstetrics, €104,000 in neurosurgery and spinal surgery, and of €97,500 in bariatric surgery, gynaecology, orthopaedics, plastic surgery and refractive laser surgery.

Charges of €77,000 annually also apply in cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, urology and vascular surgery.

Such substantially increased indemnity charges have become increasingly unaffordable in the light of cuts in health insurer procedure fees of 20 per cent or more since 2008, added the IHCA, and the ongoing uncertainty with regard to future indemnity costs was exacerbating the situation.

Gary Culliton

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times