Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (335)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

335. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of times his Department or the HSE has sought and or obtained a gagging order in respect of persons that have taken a legal action against either body in the past 15 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20803/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Deputy's question has been interpreted as relating to both clinical and general indemnity claims against my Department and the HSE for the past 15 years.

The management of clinical and general indemnity claims relating to my Department and the HSE has been delegated to the State Claims Agency under section 9 of the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2000. The delegation of the management of clinical negligence claims relates to the period since 2002, but the delegation of general negligence claims only relates to the period since 2010 for the HSE. Prior to that the HSE purchased general indemnity insurance cover from private insurance firms.

The State Claims Agency has advised my officials that it settles very few claims subject to a confidentiality agreement with the exception of claims settled through mediation. Part of the process of mediation is that the parties are bound by a strict confidentiality provision contained in the mediation agreement. In the very rare case that the agency agrees a confidentiality proviso, it is usually because of some extremely sensitive, controversial or disputed element of a claim which may be requested by either party. The agency does not formally record, on its IT system, the fact that any individual settlement is bound by a confidentiality clause. Therefore this information is not readily available.

My Department has requested the Health Service Executive to reply directly to the Deputy on this matter in respect of situations outside those addressed by the State Claims Agency.

My Department will also collate information on legal actions which were outside the remit of the State Claims Agency and will revert to the Deputy as soon as possible on the matter.