This report presents results from the Medical Indemnity National Collection (MINC) for 2007–08. It describes medical indemnity claim characteristics and costs. This is the fourth report in the series that presents data on both public and private sector medical indemnity claims, and the first to publish data on claim numbers.
In 2007–08 there were 8,555 medical indemnity claims open at some point in time. This included 2,255 new claims, and 2,675 claims that were closed during the period.
Cost and duration
Nearly 70% of closed claims were settled for less than $10,000, including 40% where no payment was made or costs incurred in closing the claim. Just 3% of claims were settled for $500,000 or more. Two-thirds (66%) of closed claims were finalised within 3 years of being opened. Close to 10% of claims took more than 5 years to be settled.
The incidents and who was involved
The most common allegation for loss related to Procedure—for example, post-operative complications or failure of procedure (2,278 of all claims and 393 of new claims)—followed by Diagnosis (1,679 of all claims, 321 of new claims) and Treatment (1,209 of all claims, 287 of new claims). Procedure, and then Diagnosis and Treatment, have been the three most common allegations of loss for both all and new claims since data first became available for the 2004–05 reporting period.
The most common allegation of harm was Neuromusculoskeletal and movement-related. This accounted for one-fifth of both all (1,737 claims) and new claims (389 claims). Mental and nervous system effects (1,416 of all claims, 228 of new claims) and Death (1,062 of all claims, 245 of new claims) were also relatively common for both types of claims. Neuromusculoskeletal and movement-related effects was the most frequent allegation of harm for new claims every year since 2004–05, generally followed by Mental and nervous system effects.
Adults were the subject of almost 70% of all and new claims, with female claim subjects outnumbering males. In the case of babies (less than 1 year old) and children (1–18 years old), the claim subject was more often a boy than a girl.
Where the claim subject was a baby, the proportion of claims associated with Mental and nervous system effects was markedly higher than other types of harm (for both all and new claims).
About one-third of all and new claims alleged the involvement of the clinical specialities Obstetrics and Gynaecology (1,439 of all claims, 227 of new claims) or General practice (1,419 of all claims, 483 of new claims).
Where incidents occurred
Around 60% of all claims (5,052 claims) related to alleged incidents in a public sector health setting, such as a public hospital. Most other claims (2,776 claims, 32%) related to incidents alleged to have occurred in a private sector health setting, for example, a private medical clinic. In 8% of cases the health setting was Other or unknown.