Rise in claims against doctors

PHOTO: Rise in claims against doctors

SINGAPORE - The number of patients lodging financial claims against doctors has nearly doubled over the past five years, with most of them settled out of court.

Hospitals say the increase could be due to poor communication and patients' rising expectations. It could also be partly because there are now more doctors here.

It does not reflect "a deterioration in care", said the Medical Protection Society, which insures almost all of the 9,000 plus doctors and medical students here against professional mishaps.

Dr Tim Hegan, its director of international operations, said claims against doctors have "increased year on year", with 90 per cent more last year than in 2006.

While he did not want to reveal the number for last year, The Straits Times understands it was more than 250.