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  • Writer's picturePatrick Moriarty

Mandatory Disclosure - The Right to Know About Your Own Health

Updated: Dec 6, 2018

The question of mandatory open disclosure has raised its head once again. Last week, several medical reform campaigners were honored by the Labour Party and they underlined the need to introduce mandatory open disclosure in their remarks.

Mandatory open disclosure would mean that if there is a gap or mistake in a patient’s medical care by either a public or private medical entity, the patient must be informed of the error.

If you have any questions about the funding of a legal action please contact our office by phone on 01 6879690 or 0860317755 or by email at

There has long been a push to introduce mandatory open disclosure. Leo Varadkar’s government have had it on the cards since its inclusion in his parties manifesto back in 2016. This year, the first step was taken with the introduction of voluntary open disclosure. Voluntary open disclosure means that it is up to the health service provider whether or not a patient is told of the gap in their treatment.

The introduction of voluntary open disclosure, rather than mandatory, has come in for some criticism in that it is not enough. However, the government maintains that they are doing the right thing in proceeding cautiously. Leo Varadkar has said that the plan has always been “that we would legislate to protect open disclosure on a voluntary basis and that we would then legislate after that for mandatory open disclosure”.

One point of contention for the introduction of mandatory open disclosure is at what level should it be applied. The UK’s Duty of Candour is the model for the Irish legislation but with one key difference. The UK’s law applies to institutions and organisations, whereas the proposed Irish legislation would also apply to individuals, which has lead to some parties feeling rather tentative about the idea.

Minister for Health Simon Harris maintains that this is important but that it must come with institutional support for such individuals if they are to learn and grow from their mistakes.

Financial Blueprint of a Medical Negligence Claim

Medical Negligence cases are often a topic of conversation in Ireland. A case is built on the strength of expert reports and testimony. The ancillary costs are driven up by lack of access to salient medical records and details. This further underlines the need for mandatory disclosure and the need for patients to have live access to their own updated medical records.

At Peter McDonnell & Associates we know from experience that the single greatest cause of worry for clients is the issue of legal fees and costs. People worry that before a case commences or at the end of their case, they will be presented with a large legal bill that will be impossible to pay.

We have broken out typical Medical Negligence case costs in the below image;

If you have any questions about the funding of a legal action please contact our office by phone on 01 6879690 or 0860317755 or by email at

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or a proportion of any award or settlement.

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