Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Questions (980)

John Lahart


980. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health if he plans to introduce a no fault compensation scheme to cover the Covid-19 vaccine programme in 2021; if the introduction of such a scheme would require primary legislation; if so, when this legislation will be drafted and introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13495/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In June 2018, the Government agreed to the establishment of an Expert Group to review the law of torts and the current systems for the management of clinical negligence claims chaired by High Court Justice Charles Meenan.

The Expert Group examined the system from the perspective of the person who has made the claim to explore if there is a better way to deal effectively yet more sensitively with certain cases. In this process the Group also looked at the impact of tort legislation on the overall patient safety culture and open disclosure. Judge Meenan submitted the final report of the Expert Group on the Reform of the Law of Torts and the Current System for Managing Clinical Negligence Claims to my myself and the Minister of Justice in January 2020, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government subsequently published the Meenan report in December 2020.

One of the report’s recommendations is that a compensation scheme be established to deal with certain vaccine damage claims.

On foot of a request from my Department, the Health Research Board (HRB) carried out an evidence review on vaccine injury redress programmes in other jurisdictions and this was completed in March 2019.

The Expert Group’s report, in addition to the HRB's evidence review, and consultation with other Government Departments and relevant State agencies will inform the development of any proposals regarding the establishment of a compensation scheme, including the need for primary legislation.