Sarah Harvey

OUR SAY: A delicate balance of trust and disclosure

IT took two weeks but Queensland Health has finally disclosed how much money it has been paying out to patients as a result of injury and damages claims.

The figures provided over the past three years show an average of $56 million a year for about 100 patients every 12 months.

We had no idea what the scale of the out-of-court settlements would be when we asked for the information and given the vast amount of patients cared for every year it is a very small percentage.

But consider the $10m paid to Rockhampton man Jamie-Thomas Manuele for inadequate care which left him with critical brain damage.

This is a young man who now needs 24-hour care daily for the rest of his life.

It's nothing short of a tragedy for him and his family who still face a challenging future despite the payout.

I'm sure the Brisbane hospital responsible for the inadequate care is extremely sorry for what has taken place and it has taken steps to ensure that what happened to Jamie will not be repeated.

But there are other unfortunate patients out there.

In 2014-2015 the state saw 83 individual claims totalling almost $53 million or $640,000 per person.

This is money I'm sure that's justified, but surely it should be disclosed as an annual figure in a report to show how the state's hospital system is faring regarding these types of claims.

The other concern is that while these payments are hidden under a veil of patient confidentiality, so is the cause of the patients' damage.

Here is that delicate area of trust and transparency.