A no-fault compensation system for medical injury is long overdue

David Weisbrot*, Kerry J. Breen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


• The 2011 report of the Productivity Commission (PC) recommended the establishment of a no-fault national injury insurance scheme limited to "catastrophic" injury, including medical injury. The report is welcome, but represents a missed opportunity to establish simultaneously a much-needed no-fault scheme for all medical injuries. • The existing indemnity scheme based on negligence remains a slow, costly, inefficient, ill targeted and stresscreating system. • A fault-based negligence scheme cannot deter nonintentional errors and does little to identify or prevent systems failures. In addition, it discourages reporting, and thus is antithetical to the modern focus on universal patient safety. • A no-fault scheme has the potential to be fairer, quicker and no more costly, and to contribute to patient safety. • No-fault schemes have been in place in at least six developed countries for many years. This extensive experience in comparable countries should be examined to assist Australia to design an effective, comprehensive system. • Before implementing the recommendations of the PC, the federal government should ask the Commission to study and promptly report on an ancillary no-fault scheme that covers all medical injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-298
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


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