113 medical negligence claims expected to cost State €1.4bn
The State expects to make payouts totalling €1.4bn due to 113 medical negligence claims where the estimated cost of settling will be more than €10m each.
Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming, the chairman of the Dáil's spending watchdog, expressed his shock at the revelation, saying they're "massive, staggering figures".
He said the claims involve "catastrophic cases" where patients were left with "life-long issues to be dealt with".
But he raised concern at the increase in the expected liabilities in recent years and said pressure should be put on health authorities to try to prevent medical negligence incidents from arising in the first place.
The figures emerged as State Claims Agency (SCA) director Ciarán Breen appeared at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Mr Breen said there were regular high-level meetings between his claims team and HSE management and there was a "great deal of learning on closed claims". He said the largest ever settlement was around €19m.
Overall the SCA is currently handling almost 11,000 claims against the State of all types with total estimated liabilities of €3.2bn.
Mr Breen refused to say what the expected costs would be from the 85 claims relating to the CervicalCheck screening service.
With the cases at various stages of the legal process, he said it was "commercially sensitive" information.