An amendment to the recently published Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill 2017 (the “Bill”) proposes to introduce new ‘Open Disclosure’ measures for health service providers dealing with patient safety incidents. The open disclosure provisions are included in Part 4 of the Bill and were introduced at Report Stage and published on 12 April 2017.

The new legislative proposals provide for open disclosure meetings between health service providers and patients and for certain restrictions on the use of information and apologies provided in an open disclosure. The Bill states that information and apologies provided by way of open disclosure will not invalidate insurance, constitute an admission of liability or be admissible as evidence in subsequent court proceedings.

It remains to be seen whether Part 4 of the Bill will be enacted in its current form and we will provide further details as the terms of the Bill are further considered.

The primary purpose of the Bill is to provide for the award of damages by way of periodic payment orders in medical negligence cases where the patient suffers a catastrophic injury and long-term care is required.

The Bill can be accessed here