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Backlog in cases of medical accident prompts concern

Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. Credit: Belga

There is a backlog of around 1,600 cases when it comes to medical accidents, and people who submit a complaint have to wait an average of four years for a court’s judgement, according to reporting from La Libre.

Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke wants the Medical Accident Fund (MAF) to process files faster, La Libre reported on Monday.

A person who has suffered damage as a result of healthcare can, in some cases, apply to the Medical Accident Fund for an opinion and possibly compensation in the event of third-party liability.

“In the years 2012-2014, about 2,500 cases were opened and only 300 cases closed,” Minister Vandenbroucke said.

“Since 2017, there have been 600 files closed each year, a higher rate than the files opened.”

He wants to eliminate the backlog at a rate of 65 files per month, focusing on cases which have the required documents present.

A report by the Court of Auditors last year pointed out the slowness of the processing of cases (an average of four years to wait for an opinion from the Fund), the high cost of processing a case, and the fact that nine out of ten victims of medical accidents do not use the procedure provided for by the law.

The Minister of Health is therefore considering an overhaul of this fund, beginning with a transitional period that lasts until 2023.

With the transitional period, the emphasis is not on adapting the law, but on organisation, management and communication.

The Minister does not rule out a further debate on the foundations of the law at a later stage.

The Brussels Times

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