News & Insights: Healthcare


8 November 2022

A Public Inquiry which was launched following investigations into the clinical practice of a Consultant Urologist at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust commenced its first public sitting today, 08 November 2022.

Urology is a branch of healthcare that deals with diseases of the male and female urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra) and male genital organs.

Consultant Urologist Aidan O’Brien was involved in providing clinical treatment to approximately 600 patients in the Southern Trust. He retired from the Trust in 2020. It is understood that the Trust raised concerns in respect of Mr O’Brien’s work directly with the Department of Health.

The Inquiry heard today that a “Look-back Review” of over 2,100 patients under Mr O’Brien’s care from January 2019 and June 2020 was commenced by the Trust. Over 1,000 Urology patients were recalled by the Southern Trust. 777 instances of sub-optimal care were identified.

In 2020 former Health Minister, Robin Swann, announced a Public Inquiry into Urology services provided by the Southern Trust and noted the issues surrounding the clinical practice of Mr O’Brien were of the “gravest concern”.

The purpose of the Inquiry is to examine the clinical and corporate governance of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. It is not, as stated by the Chairwoman Christine Smith KC, a re-examination of the care of individual patients. The key focus is the Trust’s governance systems according to Martin Wolfe KC, who is lead Counsel to the Inquiry.

400,000 pages of evidence had been scrutinised and investigations revealed that hundreds of patients received substandard care. The Inquiry is due to hear from Core Participants – Department of Health, Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Mr O’Brien. The General Medical Council is also involved.

The Inquiry is expected to sit until the end of 2023.

O’Reilly Stewart welcomes the commencement of the Urology Public Inquiry on behalf of our clients who have been affected by issues raised by the Inquiry. We are instructed by a number of families who have already given evidence to the Inquiry.

If you or your family have been affected by the issues raised by the Inquiry, please feel free to contact this office for advice and guidance –

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