Press Release

Settlement Agreement between Dr James Reilly, TD, Minister for Health and The Medical Defence Union (MDU)

A settlement agreement has been concluded between Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health and one of the Medical Defence Organisations, the UK based Medical Defence Union (MDU). The settlement sum of €45 million has now been received by the State from the MDU.

Earlier this year, the Government approved the €45 million cash lump sum settlement in order to bring to an end the long-standing dispute with the MDU. The matter in dispute between the parties was the exercise of discretion by the MDU in providing indemnity to its members and former members in respect of its historic liabilities for medical negligence claims, in circumstances where the MDU continued to refuse indemnity to large numbers of members and former members in Ireland.

In order to ensure that no person who had suffered from a medical mishap in Ireland would be left without compensation and no consultant would be left without cover in all reasonable circumstances, arrangements had been put in place to make ex gratia payments on a case by case basis for each medical negligence case that arose against MDU members and former members. As part of the agreement, these claims in respect of historic liabilities will now be managed by the State Claims Agency and in addition the third party litigation to recover monies paid by the State on behalf of refused MDU consultants has been struck out in the Courts.

Members of Medical Defence Organisations are doctors, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. Members pay an annual membership fee and in return are afforded the right to request certain discretionary membership benefits including legal advice and assistance and the provision of indemnity in respect of claims made against them. The organisations operate on a mutual basis providing any such discretionary benefits from funds contributed by members.

The Medical Protection Society (MPS) is the only other discretionary indemnifier offering indemnity to consultants and other medical practitioners in Ireland and the MPS has honoured their historic liabilities.