Medical woes as claims cost climb

The average cost of medical indemnity claims is swiftly increasing, with the biggest growth occurring in claims settling for over $500,000.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released its latest report into public and private sector medical indemnity claims, examining the 2011-2012 period.

In the public sector in that period, almost one in ten claims settled for more than $500,000, up from less than one in twenty five years ago.

Claims paying between $100,000 and $500,000 are also increasing quickly, growing from 15% of all claims to almost 25% over the same period.

Incidents in public hospitals and day surgeries were the most likely to be costly, accounting for 72% of claims closed for $100,000 or more.

However, non-procedural general practice was the most likely to account for a claim at 15.4% of total claims, followed by emergency medicine and general surgery, at around 11% each.