Medical Injuries Alliance launched to promote patient safety, access to justice for victims of medical negligence

Tuesday, October 4th – A new group which has been established to promote patient safety and access to justice for the victims of medical negligence – the Medical Injuries Alliance (MIA) – has been launched today.

MIA has been established to advocate for access to justice for patients injured during medical procedures, to campaign for openness and transparency from the medical profession when mistakes are made, and to promote a deeper awareness of the circumstances surrounding medical accidents so that improvements can be made in patient safety in Irish hospitals and medical settings.

The most recent figures which are available show that more than 84,000 medical accidents are reported by Irish hospitals every year. However, international studies, including from the US National Academy of Sciences, indicate that medical accidents represent a leading cause of premature death with 4% of all patients treated in American hospitals suffered an adverse outcome to treatment as a result of preventable error.

The Department of Health has accepted that a similar rate of preventable error can be assumed to exist in Ireland which would mean that up to 160,000 people may be injured in Irish hospitals every year, with many of these injuries remaining unreported. In just one example, even in the best performing A&E department in terms of waiting time – St James’s Hospital, Dublin – 33% of patients are not treated within HSE time guidelines, leading to up to 100 premature deaths per annum.

MIA is a membership based organisation which will be open to all members of the public – including the victims of medical negligence, members of the legal and medical professions, and patients welfare advocates – who will work together to pursue common objectives which will promote patient safety and access to justice for the victims of medical negligence. MIA will be chaired by Michael Boylan and will be vice-chaired by Bruce Antoniotti SC.

The three immediate aims of the MIA are:

Michael Boylan, Chairperson of the Medical Injuries Alliance, commented:

“The introduction of a Duty of Candour – a responsibility on the medical profession to be upfront and honest with patients when things go wrong – would completely change the current culture where a lack of openness between patients and their doctors in cases of medical negligence is unfortunately the norm. 

“Clearly, the Medical Injuries Alliance will be campaigning for a Duty of Candour to be introduced as we believe that the victims of medical negligence deserve nothing less than openness and transparency from the all healthcare professionals and healthcare administrators.

“However, studies also show that openness can decrease the trauma felt by patients following an adverse event and that patients often forgive the medical error when it is disclosed promptly, fully and compassionately and action is taken to make sure it does not happen to another patient. This was noted in the report of The Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance of the Department of Health, “Building a Culture of Patient Safety” (2008).

“In addition, the introduction of a Duty of Candour has also resulted in a decline in legal costs arising from medical negligence, seen for example in the case in the University of Michigan Hospital System.  

“In Ireland, the victims of medical negligence often find that the odds are stacked against them – accessing information about what has happened can be difficult or near-impossible, finding medics to give evidence on their behalf can be exceptionally time consuming and expensive, and without access to an effective system of legal aid many victims simply do not have the resources needed to access justice.

“The Medical Injuries Alliance will seek to promote a cultural change in how medical negligence is addressed in Ireland, putting the victim of negligence at the centre of the issue – not at the periphery, as is the case today.”

Information in relation to the Medical Injuries Alliance can be accessed on

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