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Louise O’Reilly TD introduces Bill to make open disclosure mandatory

14 June, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking after she introduced a Bill in the Dáil to provide for mandatory open disclosure, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly said:

“The decision by the government, and supported by a Fianna Fáil abstention, to make open disclosure voluntary was a mistake and I am glad that this Bill will rectify the situation.

“We in Sinn Féin have always opposed making open disclosure voluntary and we voted to make it mandatory along with independents and others in this house on the 8 November 2017, during report stage on the Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017.

“We were defeated that day, but this Bill seeks to right that wrong.

“A year earlier in a Joint Committee on Health debate on open disclosure, I argued forcefully for mandatory open disclosure. Indeed, I argued for it again on Leaders' Questions with the Taoiseach, Deputy Varadkar, on 21 February last in light of the case of Ms Alison McCormack, who had a breast cancer misdiagnosis. 

“The practice of keeping quiet when things go wrong is often prevalent in our medical culture and only a statutory duty of candour will address the situation. 

“Most recently the fallout from the CervicalCheck scandal has shown the limitations to a process of voluntary open disclosure.

“Nobody believes the health service can be run without error or risk but they demand that it will show compassion and be truthful and honest. 

“In order for open disclosure to work it must be mandatory with legal underpinnings. This Bill addresses the problems surrounding the current system and amends the Civil Liability Act 2017 to provide for a mandatory system of open disclosure in our health system."

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