Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ireland Needs a Duty of Candour as a Matter of Urgency

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty has, today (Thursday) said that we seriously need to consider the introduction of a Duty of Candour in Ireland. Should a Duty of Candour be introduced in Ireland, it would see a more transparent system whereby should an accident occur while under medical care, a legal obligation would be placed on the healthcare professional to disclose the incident at an early stage.

Doherty stated “there is already an obligation for a healthcare professional to report an accident, however, should the Duty of Candour be introduced we will see a more transparent system whereby the obligation to report a medical accident is reinforced by legislation, which does not currently exist.”

The Meath East TD stated that “few will disagree with me when I say that victims of medical negligence deserve nothing less than openness and transparency from our healthcare system. I strongly believe that a Duty of Candour should be introduced in Ireland as a matter of urgency. All too often we see families and children, who are already trying to adapt and cope with the consequences of medical negligence, having to endure further stress and worry from the process of High Court litigation.

“As we have seen in several cases which are receiving media attention, Matthew McGrath and Tadhg Costello to name a few, the already harrowing ordeal of High Court litigation is met with the additional and unsolicited torment by the State Claims Agency in its appeal of the High Court decision. It is an absolute disgrace that such worry, stress and unwarranted suffering is being brought to children and their families by the appeals process of the State Claims Agency.”

Doherty continued by saying that “children who are the victims of medical negligence deserve nothing less than to continue on with a normal life to the greatest extent possible, from the perspective of both health and quality of life; historically and currently the child’s entitlement to do so has effectively been shelved for the duration of State Claims Agency’s appeal.”

Doherty concluded “this is a no brainer. We must be compassionate with our children and families who have already experienced more trauma and stress in a short number of years than anyone should in a lifetime. Additionally, the Duty of Candour will drastically reduce the costs to the State associated with litigation for cases of medical negligence."

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