Conference Calls for Better Access to Medical Negligence Legal Aid

Delegates at a Dublin conference organised by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) have heard speakers calling on the government to provide better access to medical negligence legal aid.

The conference – hosted at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin City Centre – was chaired by AvMA´s Chief Executive, Peter Walsh, and included among its guest speakers Sheila O´Connor from Patient Focus and Dublin City Coroner, Dr Brian Farrell.

Delegates at the conference heard two leading Irish solicitors argue that it was harder than ever for those affected by medical negligence in Ireland to seek justice and whether the lack of medical negligence legal aid in Ireland to fund legal action was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The conference was told that over 100,000 ‘adverse events’ were reported in the health system by the Health Service Executive (HSE) last year, but only 635 court summons were issued. Although not every ‘adverse event’ would necessarily result in an injury, it was claimed that thousands of patients are unable to take legal action because access to medical negligence legal aid is very limited.

Medical Negligence Legal Aid

Access to medical negligence legal aid in Ireland is currently means tested and only available to those with a limited disposable income. Even those seeking advice to see if they are eligible to make a medical negligence compensation claim are expected to contribute towards the costs of running the service.

If you believe you have suffered a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition due to an ‘adverse medical event’, many solicitors will offer free, confidential legal advice without any obligation on you to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim thereafter.