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Catholic Health says indemnity affects hospitals

Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan has said the issue of medical indemnity is not confined to the medical profession alone, and that indemnity costs for hospitals are "at least as outrageous" as those faced by doctors.

"The most recent industry report reveals that hospital indemnity costs rose on average by 130% last year," he said. "One Catholic hospital has experienced premium increases of 296% in one year."

"Many hospitals have also had to pay an excess component to each claim that was triple the amount of the previous year. Some hospitals are potentially liable for excesses up to $250000 per claim.

Mr Sullivan said the major Catholic hospitals carry a significant load of complex obstetric and neurosurgical procedures and face the prospect of further unsustainable indemnity increases.

"The Commonwealth has flatly refused to address this cost blow out for hospitals," he said. "Hospitals are normally jointly sued with doctors over medical accidents."

Indemnity costs are normally considered part of the costs of care.

He called on new Health Minister Tony ABbott to put together an indemnity package which includes hospitals and all others at risk in this indemnity crisis, "since doctors are only one part of the equation".

Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Health Australia
Surgeons warn operations may stop (The Age)
Tony Abbott sworn in as new Health Minister (ABC Radio PM)
Catholic Health seeks fair deal for patients in medical indemnity talks (7/10/03)

8 Oct 2003