Health Minister Robin Swann has announced that Tom Kark QC is to chair the Public Inquiry into abuse at Muckamore Abbey Hospital.
The Minister made the announcement as he unveiled a report prepared by the Patient Client Council following a series of engagement events with families and patients of Muckamore. The events were designed to fulfil the Minister’s commitment to keep families and patients at the centre of the development of the terms of reference of the Inquiry.
The engagement events were facilitated by the PCC from December 2020 to February 2021 and the out-workings of these have been compiled into a report which has been considered by the Department of Health and has been published on the Department’s website on 30 June at 12pm.
Health Minister Robin Swann said: "Today I am pleased to announce that Tom Kark QC has agreed to chair the Public Inquiry into abuse at Muckamore Abbey Hospital.
“Mr Kark has extensive experience in medical regulation work and public inquiries. This includes having acted as Senior Counsel to the Public Inquiry, under the chairmanship of Sir Robert Francis QC, into the failures at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.”
The Minister went on to say: “In September 2020 I announced my intention to call a Public Inquiry into Muckamore. At that time I gave a commitment to the families and patients at the very centre of this, that I would bring them along with me. I wanted to ensure that both current and former families and patients would have the opportunity to influence the terms of reference of the inquiry. That is why I asked the Patient Client Council (PCC) to engage with families and patients to give them a platform to have their say.
“I am delighted that progress has been made in pulling together the necessary strands to enable this Inquiry to take place. We can now jointly turn our attention to finalising the terms of reference with the PCC report as a critical guide in this regard.”
Notes to editors:
- Families and Patients who took part in the engagement events had the opportunity to influence what will be included in the PCC Report.
This included their preferred option for the type of Chair - either a legal expert or an expert in mental health or learning disability.
Mr Kark QC is a highly experienced Queen’s Counsel with significant experience in medical regulation work and public inquiries.
He acted as Senior Counsel to the Public Inquiry into the failures at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust under the chairmanship of Robert Francis QC (now Sir Robert Francis).
In 2019 he was also instructed by the Minister for Health (England) to examine the working of the Fit and Proper Person test as it was applied to senior executives in the NHS.
Mr Kark has sat as a part time Judge (Recorder) since 1999 and has authorisations to hear Appeal cases from the Magistrates Court, cases involving serious sexual offences and also to sit at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey).
He has undertaken training in dealing with and questioning vulnerable witnesses.
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