This week there has been a lot of discussion in the newspapers and on TV about a government initiative to put in place a new set of laws and systems to handle medical malpractice claims. I watched an interview on the ABAC channel this evening of the Director of Health Systems Research Center. He recapped much of the debate, which includes the fact that the current system is too inefficient to help victims in a timely manner. Malpractice complaints normally go to the Public Health Ministry and the Medical Council which are just too slow in performing investigations. So it often falls to the courts where civil suits are filed seeking compensation, and that of course means years to get a settlement, same as anywhere in the world. The organization called Network of Victims of Medical Malpractice is available to assist in navigating the complexities of the system but there is no speed up in the process.
The new system being debated is primarily aimed at getting help to victims sooner by means of establishing a fund from which benefits can be paid within six months of filing a claim. There are a number of concerns, however, that the system will be abused with people double dipping, taking some payout from the fund but still pursuing court cases. Many in the medical community anticipate a substantial increase in their cost of doing business since it is they who will have to pay into the fund but they still are not protected from being sued.