News has today emerged (24th of November 2020) that the Minister for Health, Mr Robin Swann, has ordered public inquiries in respect of health-care failings in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. The inquiry in the Southern Health Trust relates to the conduct of a urology consultant, Mr Aidan O’Brien. The inquiry in the Belfast Trust concerns the care provided by Dr Michael Watt, a consultant neurologist. Whilst an independent inquiry, led by Mr Lockhart QC, has been ongoing in respect of the neurology scandal at the Belfast Trust, it appears that the Minister for Health has now taken the view that that such an inquiry should be conducted in public. The Minister advised the Assembly “…I believe this is the best way to ensure that the full extent of the concerns are identified and for the patients and families affected to see these and all relevant issues are pursued in a transparent and independent way.”
The Healthcare team at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors welcomes the development. We have been calling for public inquiries in respect of the scandals since news of their existence was first reported. We represent a large cohort of affected patients and we believe that their voices and concerns should be heard as part of any inquiries in relation to the circumstances which gave rise to the documented failings.
If you, or any member of your family, has been affected by the events, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team for advice and assistance.