Australia’s Medical Litigation Epidemic

UMP Update – 13 June 2002
Status of doctors who are members of UMP whose court cases are falling due in the period of provisional liquidation.

Resolutions: Medical Indemnity & Public Hospital Insurance Contracts

The Problem

“Medical practitioners tend to see malpractice cases as involving a moral blight or stigma upon the practitioner concerned. From the point of view of the patient (and most lawyers) however, the issue is usually more basic. It is whether a person who has suffered in some way as a result of medical or hospital procedures will be cast upon the genteel poverty of the social security system or be entitled to recover compensatory damages from the medical practitioner’s insurance. To gain insurance, the practitioner must pay premiums. These premiums become part of the costs of medical practice. In this way, all patients bear the cost of, and contribute to, the fund from which are paid damages when things go wrong.”

M Kirby. Patients’ Rights – Why the Australian Courts have Rejected Bolam (1995) 21 Jnl of Medical Ethics

The Answer

“It is so easy to be wise after the event and to condemn as negligence that which was only a misadventure. We ought always to be on guard against it, especially in cases against hospitals and doctors.”

Denning LJ. Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1954) 2 QB 66 at 77

ASOS Medical Indemnity Meeting