Sunday 19 November 2017

Health watchdog calls for single agency to track negligence claims

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photo:Gareth Chaney Collins
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photo:Gareth Chaney Collins
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The failure to report all alerts, medical negligence incidents, errors and mistakes across the health and social care sectors to a single agency is compromising patient safety, a report has warned.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said "a one-stop shop" was needed to allow staff to share and act on information about incidents and learn lessons.

It is the second time it has been recommended and the agency said it was needed to create a "just culture".

Dr Kevin O'Carroll, acting director of health information with Hiqa, said: "The diffusion of this information is a lost opportunity to provide early warnings of potential patient safety risks."

The advice was one of 10 recommendations issued by Hiqa after concerns were raised about the safety of maternity services following a number of baby deaths, including those at Portlaoise Hospital. Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he had announced in November that there would be mandatory reporting of specified patient safety incidents and this would be included in legislation.


"Exactly which incidents will be specified will have to be worked out, but I believe it should encompass all serious reportable events," he said.

"Furthermore, Hiqa calls for legislation to support open disclosure.

"The Civil Liability Bill currently being drafted in co-operation with the Department of Justice will provide for open disclosure to be supported by ensuring that an apology offered or full information given is supported and staff can do so without an admission of liability.

"My current intention is to establish a National Patient Safety Office within my Department headed up by a Director of Patient Safety and I want it done this year. I am adamant that they report directly to me," Mr Varadkar said.

Irish Independent

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