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Hospital deaths failing need to be addressed

22 September, 2004

Sinn Fein Health spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has said that the Human Rights Commission's discussion paper on investigating deaths in hospitals is a welcome contribution to the wider debate on health care.

Mr O'Dowd said,

"Deaths in hospitals are a very sensitive issue for relatives and medical staff alike. What this report highlights are a number of failings within the system which obviously need to be addressed, such as:

  • The absence of an automatic requirement for an investigation into a death in hospital
  • The need to review guidelines and regulations governing internal reviews by Health and Social Services Trusts including the ability to access completely all patient notes and records and
  • Coroners' powers in relation to the investigation of such deaths, and their ability to make binding recommendations as a result of the same.

"Any debate around this issue should have the prevention of avoidable hospital deaths as a result of negligence, individual error or systemic failure as its main focus. It is vital that pubic confidence in our health services is maintained." ENDS

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