A new campaign group, Patients for Patient Safety Ireland, is being set up to help improve patient care.

Chairperson Margaret Murphy said the group hoped to identify people who would engage with it, people for whom the health system had failed and who would like to share that experience in a positive way.

Last month, the State Claims Agency reported an increase in clinical claims for the first half of the year compared with previous years.

It said this may be due to people, injured as a result of a medical negligence event, being more likely to sue doctors, dentists and hospitals in more difficult economic times.

For the first time since the inception of its clinical indemnity scheme, the agency has seen an upward trend in clinical claims for the first six months of the year, compared with previous years.

Ms Murphy said she hoped to build a network of people in the new organisation who could become champions in advancing patient safety in Ireland.

The group held its first meeting in Dublin last night and other evening meetings are planned next month for Offaly, Galway and Cork.

A solicitor involved in current cases involving recalled hip implants and breast implants said today that claims alleging medical negligence are increasing.

Liam Moloney, at Moloney & Co, Kildare, said that the current complaints procedures do not adequately represents people's interests and so many patients feel their only option is to go to court.

Over 83,000 incidents are reported each year to the State Claims Agency in relation to the health system and last year it paid out around €81m in damages in this area.

Nearly 13,000 incidents a year involve medication or treatment matters.

The new campaign group says it is not about money but making sure the system learns from mistakes.

The group can be contacted at margaretmurphyireland@gmail.com