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Minister must begin implementing Patient Safety Report now – Ó Caoláin

8 August, 2008 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caolán TD has called for implementation of the Report of the Commission on Patient Safety to begin immediately. He called on Health Minister Harney to prepare a legislative programme to make the necessary changes in the running of our health services as recommended by the Report.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Events such as the Neary scandal exposed how, for decades, sections of the health service prioritised their own sectional interests over the safety and rights of patients. Thanks to tireless campaigning by victims of such cover-ups, much has changed and patients' rights are more to the fore but much remains to be done. The Report of the Commission on Patient Safety sets out just how much now needs to be put in place.

"Implementation of this Report should begin without delay. Especially important are the recommendations which call for a national network of patient advocates and the nomination of a named lead person by each healthcare organisation who will liaise with patients, families and advocates.

"The recommendation that patients should be offered full access to information relating to their care, including correspondence between healthcare professionals is of critical importance. This information should be provided as of right and Government action to vindicate this right is long overdue.

"The drafting of all the legislative changes required should begin now, as recommended by the Report. On the resumption of the Dáil, the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney should present a list of promised legislation to put the recommendations into effect and we will be holding her to account on that." ENDS

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