Monday 26 February 2018

Reilly to speed up compensation plan for Neary victims

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

HEALTH Minister James Reilly, who has been accused of breaking a promise to victims of disgraced obstetrician Michael Neary (pictured), has said he will bring compensation proposals to Government before the summer recess.

A group of 35 former patients of the Co Louth obstetrician, who was struck off for wrongly removing wombs, lost out on the original compensation scheme, mostly because they fell outside the terms of reference, which excluded anyone who was over 40 years of age when the procedure took place.

The women said yesterday that the minister had made a pre-election promise while in opposition to compensate them a year after his appointment in early 2011.

However, they spoke of their bitter disappointment at the reneging on the pledge two years after the Coalition came to Government.

A spokeswoman for the minister said the Department of Health was engaged in a review to identify the most appropriate mechanism to compensate these women.

The original scheme paid out around €20m.

Dr Neary worked at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for over 20 years and was struck off by the Medical Council in 2003.

He performed 129 caesarean hysterectomies, removing the women's wombs shortly after giving birth.

The average number of these types of procedures for the majority of obstetricians over the course of their career is five.

Sheila O'Connor, of Patient Focus, said repeated letters had been sent to Dr Reilly and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, but the standard reply was that the matter was "being attended to".

The Neary victims are just one group who are pressuring the minister for compensation.

He is also facing similar calls from the parents whose children developed the sleeping disease narcolepsy after getting the swine flu vaccine and from the victims of the drug thalidomide.

Irish Independent

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