Estonia to set up liability insurance for medical professionals

At a doctor's office in Tartu.
At a doctor's office in Tartu. Source: (Sille Annuk/Postimees/Scanpix)

A declaration of intent is set to exit the Ministry of Social Affairs to set up a system enabling the compensation of patients for complications occurring in conjunction with medical treatment.

Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said that the system will benefit patients and doctors alike.

"In medicine, situations may inevitably occur in which not everything proceeds in the best possible manner," Ossinovski said. "A doctor always wants the best for the patient, but under certain circumstances or conditions of insufficient information, there may be situations in which not everything ends successfully. Instead of costly and time-consuming litigation, [this] insurance would compensate the patient for damages sustained in the course of the provision of healthcare services, the occurrence of which could have been reasonably avoided. Healthcare workers meanwhile would be able to focus on avoiding similar problems in the future instead of on accusations."

The purpose of the no-fault insurance system would be to make compensating those suffering damages as fast and easy as possible. By law, specific ceilings would be imposed on cases of health indemnity depending on the gravity of the damage. At the same time, the paient would retain the right to turn to a court of law after receiving compensation as well.

The maximum cost of the new system for the state budget and the Health Insurance Fund would be approximately €2.3-3 million per year.

Simultaneously with the creation of the patient insurance system, a system for the documentation and prevention of avoidable complications and patient safety cases would be established to further improve quality of treatment and ensure the safety of patients.

Once the declaration of intent is endorsed, the corresponding bill will be drafted in collaboration with all related interest groups.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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