Muckamore patients and families invited to help shape Public Inquiry

Date published: 20 November 2020


Health Minister Robin Swann is inviting patients and families of Muckamore Abbey Hospital to input into the Terms of Reference of the Public Inquiry into abuse at the hospital.

Statement on HMS Caroline

In September Minister Swann confirmed that a statutory Public Inquiry would be held and made a commitment to families and patients that they would be given the opportunity to influence the remit and scope of the Inquiry.

The Health Minister is now inviting families and patients, both current and former, to participate in a series of engagement meetings facilitated by the Patient Client Council.

Minister Swann said: “I am both appalled and saddened that patients and families have been so badly let down by Muckamore Abbey Hospital and understandably their trust in our Health and Social Care system has been eroded. While the Public Inquiry will not be able to undo the shocking events of the past, I hope that it will help provide patients and families with the answers they need and deserve.

“I appreciate that this will be a difficult process and that people may have concerns about whether their relative was subject to any abuse during the time they spent in the hospital.

“I also appreciate that not everyone may wish to discuss this in a public forum, so I am also putting in place arrangements that will allow people to provide their views in writing or on a one-to-one basis, if that is their preference.”

The Public Inquiry is intended to ensure a full and rigorous investigation into what happened at Muckamore and what lessons need to be learned to ensure that there can be no repeat of these. A major police investigation is ongoing while relevant health trusts are continuing with disciplinary hearings.

Concluding the Health Minister said: “I want to again offer my apologies to patients and families. Events at Muckamore should never have taken place and families should never have been put in this position. We must do all we can to ensure that lessons are learned and this never happens again.

“I strongly encourage families and patients to participate in this work, in whatever way they feel comfortable.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Health Minister announced to the Assembly on the 8 September 2020 that he was setting up a Public Inquiry into Muckamore Abbey Hospital following the Serious Adverse Incident Report and the Review into the Leadership and Governance of Muckamore Abbey Hospital by the Belfast Trust.
  2. A letter from the Health Minister to families and relatives is in the process of being issued through health Trusts. A copy of the letter which includes contact details for the Patient Client Council is published on the Department of Health website at
  3. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email:
  4. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.
  5. 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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