Health Minister Robin Swann has commented on ongoing work to implement the recommendations from the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia Related Deaths.
The Minister revealed that detailed policy proposals in relation to a statutory duty of candour are due to be published in Spring.
On 31 January 2018, Sir John O’Hara published his report of the Inquiry into hyponatraemia-related deaths. The report contained 96 recommendations across 10 themes where failings were identified.
Commenting on the latest update, the Minister said: “As we approach the second anniversary of the publication of Sir John O’Hara’s report into the deaths of five children, I want to extend my personal sympathy to the families - both for the deaths of their children and for the experiences they subsequently endured. I know there is an overwhelming consensus that we must do everything we can to make sure that these events are never repeated.
“Whilst Sir John recognised that some things had improved in the years between the deaths of these children and the publication of his report, his 96 recommendations made it clear that there was still substantial room for improvement.”
Mr Swann continued:
“As Minister for Health I am committed to ensuring that progress is made with implementing these recommendations.
“Whilst I acknowledge that the approach adopted to date of co-production is the right one, I want to see us now taking significant steps towards implementation. I expect to see real evidence of this over the next number of months.”
A number of the inquiry recommendations will require Executive approval and legislation to implement. These include the introduction of a statutory duty of candour and the creation of an Independent Medical Examiner post.
The Department expects to have detailed policy proposals in relation to duty of candour and openness by the end of March 2020, which could be issued shortly thereafter for public consultation.
The Minister concluded: “I will be working closely with my Executive colleagues to ensure a high priority is given to proposals for legislation arising from Inquiry recommendations.”
Notes to editors:
- The department has published a number of updates on progress with implementing these recommendations - “Working Together to Put Things Right”. The most recent update was published in December 2019 and can be accessed online.
- The programme and all of its Workstreams and Sub-Groups remain open to receive submissions at any time from any stakeholder, individuals or groups, who wish to put their views, ideas and evidence forward to be considered against individual recommendations. They can still do so by emailing IHRD.Implementation@health-ni.gov.uk
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