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RM7mil in medical negligence compensation since 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 July 2009: The government has thus far paid RM7 million in compensation to patients since 2007 for negligence in government hospitals.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the sum was considered small, as compared with compensations paid out by other countries.

She said the ministry received a monthly average of between five and eight complaints on negligence by medical staff over the past two years.

“Most of the cases were taken straight to court, affecting the credibility and image of the doctor. It also increased the burden and pressure on medical practitioners.

“There are other ways to settle these cases, besides going to court, such as using alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which consists of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and negotiation,” added Rosnah.

She was speaking to reporters after launching the Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference on Medical Negligence 2009 at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Gombak near here today.

“Our society is still unaware of these methods, which are less costly, quick, easy and professionally carried out without shaming any party. It’s more of a win-win situation,” she said.

She said with this method, patient and doctor would have a discussion in the presence of an intermediary or moderator, who would be responsible for suggesting solutions agreeable to both parties.

“It will be a closed discussion to maintain the good name of the patient and the doctor, and will not even require a lawyer,” she added.

Rosnah said the ministry and the Malaysian Medical Council would always practise the discussion method because there would be cases there were not caused by negligence, as alleged by the patient. — Bernama

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