Ipp Report on negligence – Balanced – 2 September 2002

The Ipp Report (principled review into the laws of negligence) is balanced, Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Mr Stephen Milgate, said in Sydney today.

Mr Milgate said “Justice Ipp appears to have dealt with the complexities and conundrums of the laws of negligence in an intellectually honest way. He attempts to give support to those who are the victims of genuine negligence. He attempts to give more certainty to professionals whilst not putting the court in a straight jacket.”

“The arguments for change in the law of negligence are compelling. Many senior members of the Australian judiciary are telling us that the law on negligence is an ass or is being used as a loss distribution mechanism which has created injustice and in some cases outright contempt for the law.”

“In such circumstances governments have to act to reform the law. All Australians are entitled to justice and that includes doctors who have over 220,000,000 transactions with patients every year and perform some 6,000,000 procedures and operations.”

“The elimination of obvious risk from tort is in our view just plain common sense. Most people would agree that if you are washed off the rocks while rock fishing, you should not be able to sue the council for not warning you it was dangerous.”

“Doctors will want more detail about the concepts of proactive and reactive information and particularly about their ability to delegate in some circumstances, information giving to patients.”

“Nevertheless, the review has given us a framework to work with and is a step forward,” said Mr Milgate.