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Varadkar got it wrong in 2016; now Sinn Féin Dáil motion seeks mandatory open disclosure in the HSE

12 May, 2018 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has published a Dáil motion which calls on the government to legislate for mandatory open disclosure in the HSE.

Teachta McDonald also said there are further questions to answer in relation to the cervical check scandal and that the process of accountability needs to continue as more information comes into the public domain.

Speaking in advance of a meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle today, Teachta McDonald said;

“Since the scandal of Cervical Check broke Sinn Féin has advocated for supports for the women and families affected and set out the steps needed to rebuild confidence in the cancer detection process and health care service in general. 

“Central to this is accountability and disclosure. 

“The government had refused to hold the director general of the HSE to account and failed to introduce mandatory disclosure.

“We have consistently called for those responsible to be held to account.  This process must continue as more information becomes publicity available. There is a role in this for the scoping inquiry established by the government and by the Oireachtas Health and Public Accounts Committees which will meet next week.

“As Health Minister, Leo Varadkar promised to introduce mandatory disclosure but, following advice from the Chief Medical Officer, he decided not to proceed. That was the wrong advice and the wrong decision in 2016 and women affected by the cervical check scandal are paying the cost of that decision.  We now know that the chief medical officer was informed of the cervical check scandal in 2016.

“We need to know the nature of the advice given by the Chief Medical Officer to the then Health Minister, Leo Varadkar and we need to know if it informed by knowledge of the Cervical Check scandals or any other medical scandal.

“Given the failure by governments to introduce mandatory disclosure Sinn Féin will bring forward a Dáil motion, next week, calling on the government to legislate for this before the summer recess. We expect all party and government support for this motion and have a bill in draft form that we will share with the government.

“The government must do right by the women and families affected and they must do right by future generations. The health care system cannot move from one scandal to the next. It is time to put it right. It is time for accountability and mandatory disclosure in the Health Care System is a crucial part of it.”


Sinn Féin Dáil motion to be debated on Tuesday:


Fógraí Tairisceana : Notices of Motions



“That Dáil Eireann:

recognises that:

the CervicalCheck scandal and the reports into the deaths of babies in the Portiuncula and Portlaoise Hospitals have undermined confidence in the healthcare service, caused hardship and injury to families and potentially impacted on the treatment of seriously ill women;

the Health Service Executive (HSE), every healthcare organisation in the State, or services purchased by the State or delivered on behalf of the State by the private sector, and everyone working for them must be honest, open and truthful in all of their dealings with patients and the public, and organisational and personal interests must never be allowed to outweigh the duty to be honest, open and truthful;

there is a need for justice and support for the women affected and for the families of those women who have tragically died;

there is a need to rebuild confidence and trust between patients and the healthcare service;

central to rebuilding trust is full disclosure of all relevant information to patients and accountability within the health service;

to date the Government has failed to introduce mandatory open disclosure;

the introduction of mandatory open disclosure is a necessary and immediate step in rebuilding confidence in the healthcare service; and

mandatory open disclosure should not only be confined to doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals at all levels, but it should apply across the whole health service from the ward to the top of the HSE, Department of Health, and include all grades and categories of workers; and

calls on the Government to:

legislate for mandatory open disclosure of all information where an error occurred that has affected the patient’s care and to do so before the next Dáil summer recess;

place a statutory duty on all officials in the Department of Health and HSE to provide full information to a healthcare regulator, statutory agency and

Minister in cases of systemic failures in healthcare;

ensure there is also a statutory duty imposed on all officials in the Department of Health and HSE, including the Minister for Health and the Director General of the HSE, to be truthful in any information given to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and/or any relevant statutory agency, either personally or on behalf of their organisation; and

ensure that it be made a criminal offence for any health service worker of any grade group or category, official within the Department of Health, or official within the HSE, including the Minister for Health and the Director General of the HSE to:

knowingly obstruct another in the performance of these statutory duties;

withhold information about a patient’s medical diagnoses or misdiagnosis;

provide information to a patient or nearest relative intending to mislead them about such an incident; or

dishonestly make an untruthful statement to HIQA and/or any relevant statutory agency knowing or believing that they are likely to rely on the statement in the performance of their duties.” — Louise O'Reilly, Gerry Adams, John Brady, Pat Buckley, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin J. Ferris, Kathleen Funchion, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Jonathan O'Brien, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Maurice Quinlivan, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín.

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