The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has heard that medical negligence legal actions against the State could result in costs of more than €2.3 billion, according to the Irish Independent.
The committee is examining the escalating costs of such cases, as officials from the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and the State Claims Agency (SCA) appear before TDs.
NTMA boss Conor O'Kelly is expected to outline that the estimated total estimated liability of cases being managed by the SCA is in the region of €3.15 billion.
Catastrophic injury cases
The SCA is dealing with around 10,500 active claims, including “cases of catastrophic injury suffered in hospitals within the SCA remit”.
Although clinical claims comprise less than 30% of the overall number of active claims, they make up 74% of the overall estimated liability.
O’Kelly said: “Often the most catastrophic cases relate to maternity services and injuries suffered by babies and mothers, but we have all seen, over the past year or so, other high-profile cases relating to the national cancer screening services.”
He added: “All of these cases are very difficult for the people involved and their families, and they need to be handled with great sensitivity and compassion.”
PAC chairman Seán Fleming has said that TDs will focus on the escalating costs associated with medical negligence claims, adding that the total €3.15 billion value of claims of all types against the State is €490 million up on last year.
The NTMA chief will also update TDs on the management of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), the Apple tax case, and efforts to pay down the national debt.
The ISIF is managed by the NTMA, and is a sovereign development fund mandated to make commercial investments designed to support economic activity and employment.
Based on market valuations, the fund has now generated investment gains of €850 million since inception in late 2014.