Sunday 4 December 2016

Varadkar: No U-turn on Government's plans to force doctors and nurses to admit when they have made a mistake

Published 18/01/2016 | 02:30

Leo Varadkar: urged doctors and nurses to get the flu jab Photo: Damien Eagers
Leo Varadkar: urged doctors and nurses to get the flu jab Photo: Damien Eagers

There will be no U-turn on the Government's plans to force doctors and nurses to admit when they have made a mistake, according to Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

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Reports yesterday suggested that the Government had abandoned plans to make open disclosure a legal requirement for healthcare professionals.

Mr Varadkar had previously promised that accountability would be increased under his watch and he has now said that this plan has not changed.

"Last November, I published a Patient Safety Package at the second annual Patient Safety Conference. It had already been approved by Government and was broadly welcomed at the time by patient-advocacy groups," said Mr Varadkar.

"There has been no change of policy since then of any sort whatsoever."

The minister said healthcare staff would be legally required to report serious instances and events.

A patient-safety office will be established within the Department of Health and the powers of the Health Information and Quality Authority will be extended to the regulation of private hospitals.

This comes as Mr Varadkar urged all healthcare professionals to ensure they are vaccinated against the flu, saying that any doctor or nurse who doesn't get the jab is a health and safety risk to patients and their co-workers.

"There have been a lot of attendances to GPs and doctors' surgeries with flu-like illnesses. If you are in a high-risk group, if you are over 65, pregnant or have a chronic disease, get vaccinated," he said.

"I think there is a case for healthcare workers to tell patients if they are vaccinated or not because coming into contact with a healthcare worker who is not vaccinated is a health and safety risk."

Irish Independent

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