Assembly statement on clinical practice concerns

Date published: 24 November 2020

Health Minister Robin Swann has ordered a statutory public inquiry in relation to serious concerns about the clinical practice of a hospital consultant.

Covid-19 update

The decision, announced in a statement to the Assembly, relates to the work of a urology consultant who earlier this year retired from the Southern Trust.

The Health Minister has also informed MLAs that the independent inquiry panel set up in relation to the recall of neurology patients at Belfast Trust will be converted to a statutory public inquiry. This is to enable the inquiry panel team to complete its work with “unfettered access to all relevant information”, he stated.

In relation to the concerns about the clinical practice of the Southern Trust urology consultant, Minister Swann told MLAs that to date 1,159 patients’ records have initially been reviewed and 271 patients or families have been contacted by the Trust. Work continues across areas of concern. 

He said the concerns about clinical practice of the consultant urologist were “of the gravest concern”.

Concluding the Minister said: “The impact of these concerns will be felt most severely by patients and their families affected and unfortunately we are only at the start of what is likely to become a long and detailed investigation into this matter.  As Health Minister I want to firstly unreservedly apologise to these patients and their families for any upset and distress this has caused.  I would also wish to reassure them that I will endeavour to ensure that they obtain appropriate treatment, support and the care they need over the coming weeks and months.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The full oral statement to the Assembly along with an appendix of additional information provided to MLAs is available on the Department's website.
  2. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  3. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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