Department of Health statement re Cawdery family

Date published: 07 August 2019

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly today apologised to members of the Cawdery family at a meeting attended by DOH senior officials.

Latest News

Mr Pengelly offered a full apology on behalf of the entire Health and Social Care (HSC) system, for the failings and handling of this very tragic case and deeply regrets the distress and pain caused to all those who have been adversely affected.

He acknowledged that, as the Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) clearly states, while the events could not have been predicted, they could - and indeed should - have been avoided.

The HSC system is carefully considering the independent Level 3 SAI review report carried out into the circumstances resulting in the deaths of Mr Michael and Mrs Marjorie Cawdery on 26th May 2017.

It is fully recognised and accepted that there were missed opportunities and failings, as identified in the Level 3 report, in Mr McEntee’s care.

Likewise, it is also clear that there were unacceptable deficiencies in the first SAI report, including the failure to engage directly with family members.

HSC leaders (including Department of Health, Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency, Trusts and RQIA) will be holding detailed discussions on the recommendations from the independent SAI report.

These deliberations will cover the steps needed to enhance mental health provision in Northern Ireland; ways to reduce the risk of something similar happening in the future; and improvements to SAI processes including better engagement with families.

The Department is committed to an ongoing process of engagement with the family and others affected by similar circumstances.


Notes to editors: 

  1. The Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency are finalising work to simplify SAI guidance and strengthen engagement with families.
  2. A review of the SAI process is also underway as part of the detailed Department of Health programme of work in response to the inquiry on hyponatremia-related deaths.
  3. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office 028 9052 0575 or email Out-of-hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  4. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt



Share this page

Back to top