Health and open disclosure legislation

Sir, – The breakdown between senior health management and the women failed by Cervical Check is concerning. Sadly it appears these women will now face lengthy adversarial court cases (News, November 20th). Unfortunately this experience will not be confined to victims of Cervical Check given it is the default approach to health service failings.

In 2018, the Department of Health in conjunction with the Department of Justice commissioned a review into the system for dealing with medical negligence under Mr Justice Charles Meenan. An interim report was issued in March 2019 and former minister for health Simon Harris issued a press release claiming the final report was due in June 2019. As we move towards 2021 there still appears to be no sign of the final report, and mothers who suffer medical negligence continue to be dragged through the High Court for years as they attempt to seek answers to why their child has been left permanently disabled (or worse) due to health service failings.

Given the same health service management removed the mandatory element from the 2015 open disclosure legislation, one can only conclude that senior management in the Department of Health has no issue dragging what are predominantly women through the High Court. The fact that many of these women will either be seriously ill themselves or be caring for a seriously ill child does not appear to register with senior management in the Department of Health.

The current Minister for Health should provide an update on what if any efforts the Department of Health is making to reform our system for dealing with health service failings and when he intends implementing these reforms. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 18.