Press Release

Minister for Health publishes the Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2014 – Bill ensures medical practitioners have adequate indemnity insurance

Bill ensures medical practitioners have adequate indemnity insurance

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD today (1 August 2014) published the Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2014.  The Bill requires that medical practitioners who are engaged in medical practice must have an adequate minimum level of medical indemnity insurance.

“At present there is no legal obligation on a medical practitioner to have adequate medical indemnity insurance cover. This legislation will address this deficit. It is good news for patients, as the enactment of the legislation will mean that members of the public will be able to have redress in the event of a medical mishap or negligent care from a medical practitioner” said the Minister.

“I wish to pay tribute to Senator Colm Burke for his championing of this reform and the publishing of this bill today is in no small way down to his work on the issue and also to my predecessor, Dr James Reilly, who produced a similar private members bill.”

The onus will be on medical practitioners to ensure they have adequate cover and the Medical Council will obtain evidence from them at the time of registration or on retention of registration about their indemnity status. The Medical Council will have the power to sanction a medical practitioner if that person engages in medical practice without indemnity.

The Bill should not require medical practitioners to pay any more than what would be the normal adequate indemnity cover for the medical practice in which they are engaged.  If a medical practitioner is not engaged in medical practice and does not pose a risk to another person relating to his or her medical practice (e.g. a medical practitioner who is a full time lecturer) there will be no legal obligation on that medical practitioner to have medical indemnity cover.

The legislation will be initiated in the Seanad as early as possible in the autumn.