HSE report on Beacon Hospital controversy given to Minister

Donnelly says he has yet to read report into vaccination of teachers

Beacon Hospital chief executive Michael Cullen pictures with then minster for health Simon Harris and members of staff in 2016. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Beacon Hospital chief executive Michael Cullen pictures with then minster for health Simon Harris and members of staff in 2016. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

A HSE report on controversial Covid-19 vaccinations at the Beacon Hospital has been delivered to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

Mr Donnelly asked the HSE to review vaccinations at the south Co Dublin private hospital after it emerged in March that 20 teachers from St Gerard’s school in Bray had been given jabs ahead of their place in the official priority list at the time.

The Minister confirmed that he received the HSE’s report on Monday but said he did not yet know when it will be published saying he has to read it.

Controversy arose when it emerged that the the teachers were vaccinated ahead of their place in the official priority list in place at the time and that they came from a private school attended by some of Beacon Hospital chief executive Michael Cullen’s children.

A separate report commissioned by the board of the Beacon Hospital found that the decision to provide vaccines to teachers at the school was incorrect and not in compliance with the HSE’s vaccine priority list.

The review conducted by Eugene McCague, a former managing partner of law firm Arthur Cox, found the decision was taken by Mr Cullen alone but it had been made “in good faith”.

The report found that the decision was taken by Mr Cullen “in a time-pressured situation in the mistaken belief that the risk of doses being wasted entitled Beacon to administer the doses to anyone who was available, other than patients”.

It said this was based on his understanding that people other than healthcare workers including teachers, had been referred for vaccination to the vaccination clinic by the HSE’s community healthcare organisations and an incorrect interpretation of the extent of the discretion permitted in the official guidelines for the sequencing arrangements to apply for the administration of the vaccines.

“While the basis on which Mr Cullen made his decision was incorrect, I am satisfied that he made the decision in good faith,” the McCague report said.