Sunday 22 September 2019

The Floating Voter: 'The reality is you will get people hiding stuff purposely' - Fine Gael's James Reilly

Senator James Reilly
Senator James Reilly
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

FORMER Health Minister James Reilly has warned that the introduction of mandatory reporting of medical mistakes could result in doctors covering up negligence.

Senator Reilly said Department of Health officials advised him against introducing legislation which would mean doctors would be legally obliged to inform patients when they made mistakes.

Dr Reilly said he is personally in favour of mandatory reporting but insisted doctors and nurses also need to be protected.

“With mandatory disclosure you will still get people, I hate to have to say it, but the reality is you will get people hiding stuff purposely,” Mr Reilly told’s Floating Voter podcast.

He said there is a culture of fear in the health service which prevents doctors and nurses from speaking up when they make mistakes.

“We need to support medics and nurses to do their job and accept that they're human and accept that errors occur,” he said.

Mr Reilly’s warning follows the devastating news that terminally ill cancer patient Emma Mhic Mahathuna was previously given incorrect smear test results.

Senator Reilly his “thoughts and prayers” are  with Ms Mhic Mahathuna and her family.

However, he said he is not in favour of HSE director Tony O’Brien being sacked as it could result in legal challange.

During the wide-ranging Floating Voter interview, Mr Reilly revealed he was disappointed that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar scrapped his plan to abolish the HSE when he succeed him as Minister for Health.

He also discussed his proposal to extend the smoking ban and his opposition to giving the Irish diaspora a vote on the presidency.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section