Most indemnity claims against GPs are small

COMPLAINTS against GPs accounted for 20% of Australian medical indemnity claims in 2008–09, but most claims were small and settled within three years, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, released this week, found about 70% of the 2625 claims in 2008–09 were finalised within three years, while 9% took more than five years to settle.

AIHW Hospitals and Performance Group senior executive Jenny Hargreaves said nearly two-thirds of closed claims were settled for less than $10,000, including 30% where no payment was made. Just 4% were settled for $500,000 or more.

About 6% of claims were finalised through a court decision, while 29% were finalised through negotiation, with the remaining 65% discontinued or withdrawn.

About one-third of all claims (38%) related to incidents alleged to have occurred in a private sector setting.