Neurology inquiry panel terms of reference published

Date published: 07 June 2018

The terms of reference have been finalised for the independent inquiry panel on the Belfast Trust neurology patient recall.

Latest News

The panel comprises its chair Brett Lockhart QC and Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor.

Plans for its establishment were announced by the Department of Health last month.

Mr Lockhart today said: “I very much welcome the finalisation of the terms of reference and, in particular, the involvement of Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor, who has significant experience in clinical governance.

“I am conscious of the level of public interest and concern and a preliminary report will be produced as soon as practicable with the final report issued on the completion and review of all other relevant actions initiated by the Department.”

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said: “I am pleased that the terms of reference have been finalised to the satisfaction of the two panel members.

"The Department is very grateful to Mr Lockhart and Dr Mascie-Taylor for agreeing to carry out this vital work.

“I expect full co-operation with the panel inquiry’s work right across the health and social care system. I would also ask that the panel be given the time and space to carry out its work.”

The Terms of Reference of the Independent Review are outlined below:

(a) In relation to the circumstances which led to the recall of patients in May 2018 (for the period from November 2016 until May 2018), to evaluate the corporate governance (with particular reference to clinical governance) procedures and arrangements within the Belfast Trust.  This specifically includes the communication and escalation of the reporting of issues related to potential concerns about patient care and safety, within and between the Belfast Trust, the HSC Board and Public Health Agency, the Department and any other areas which directly bear on patient care and safety and the general public, including an assessment of the role of the Board of the Belfast Trust;

(b) To review the Belfast Trust’s handling of relevant complaints or concerns, identified or received prior to November 2016, and participation in processes to maintain standards of professional practice, including appraisals.  The Panel are asked to  determine whether there were any related concerns or circumstances which should have alerted the Belfast Trust to instigate an earlier and more thorough investigation over and above the extant arrangements for raising concerns and the existing complaints procedure; and

(c) To identify any learning points and make recommendations to the Department in relation to points (a) and (b) above. In particular to consider the application of any learning arising from the Inquiry to the framework for clinical social care governance, the current balance between problem sensing and assurance seeking in the extant system and its underpinning processes.

The Independent Review Panel will carry out an independent non-statutory inquiry. The Independent Review Panel will be chaired by Mr Brett Lockhart QC working together, and in partnership with Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor.

The methodology to be used by the Independent Review Panel is outlined below:

There are two main phases envisaged of the Panel’s work; to submit a preliminary report as soon as practicable to the Department and at that stage advise the Department as to when the final report and recommendations will be provided to the Department. Should the Panel, as part of their Review, establish any issue of concern, which they believe needs to be brought to the Department’s immediate attention, then this will be done.

The Independent Review will be an inquisitorial inquiry. The Panel has a legitimate expectation of full cooperation by all parties involved, as affirmed by the Department, reflecting the professional duty of candour and HSC Code of Conduct.  The Panel will determine how further they wish to conduct the review. 

Notes to editors: 

1. A website for the independent inquiry panel will be established shortly and will include media contact details.

2. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office 028 9052 0575 or email Out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt  

3. The department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the department’s internal records management system. The department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.  

Share this page

Back to top