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Beacon Hospital 'unreservedly apologises' after vaccine controversy, orders independent review

The hospital was heavily criticised for giving jabs to teachers at a private school in Co Wicklow last week.

THE BEACON HOSPITAL has initiated an independent review and apologised “unreservedly” over recent controversy surrounding the allocation of vaccines. 

The hospital was heavily criticised for giving jabs to teachers at a private school in Co Wicklow last week. 

The Irish Daily Mail reported that the children of the CEO of the Beacon Hospital attend the fee-paying school, St Gerard’s in Bray.

The private hospital was being used as a hub to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly on Saturday requested vaccine operations at the hospital be suspended. 

In a statement this evening the hospital said: “Beacon Hospital unreservedly apologises to our patients, staff and the wider community for the upset caused by the vaccination of teachers in the Beacon Vaccination Centre.  

“The Board is proud of the excellent standards of care maintained by our hospital and its adherence to the highest levels of governance and clinical excellence.  

“In order to ascertain all of the facts associated with the operation of the Vaccination Centre and in line with our responsibility to ensure due process, the Board is appointing Eugene McCague, former Managing Partner and Chairman of Arthur Cox and former Board member of the HSE to conduct an independent review on behalf of the non-executive Directors.   

“Upon completion of the Review, the non-executive members of the Board will consider its findings and will at that time take any necessary actions required.    

“Since the onset of the Covid 19 crisis, Beacon Hospital has sought to utilise our resources to play a significant role in assisting the National effort to combat the crisis.  The hospital offered its resources to the HSE to assist with the roll-out of the National vaccination programme in January of this year.  

“To date, the centre has vaccinated over 9,000 HSE staff.  This vaccination centre was fitted out, staffed, operated and funded by Beacon Hospital in line with our commitment to assist the National effort to combat the pandemic and the devastating impact it has had in our country.

“The Board of Beacon Hospital would like to take this opportunity to reassure our patients of our continued commitment to the delivery of exceptional patient care.”

In a previous statement on Friday the hospital said 1,096 HSE staff were vaccinated at the hospital last Tuesday, but that there were over 200 no-shows to scheduled appointments as a result of people being double booked at another vaccination centre the Aviva Stadium.

The hospital said it had liaised with the HSE, and that the majority of excess vaccines were subsequently used for HSE staff who were redirected to the hospital that afternoon.

“However, late on Tuesday evening there were still 20 leftover vaccines drawn up that needed to be used within a very short period of time,” a spokesperson for the hospital said. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said at the weekend that the vaccines “belong to the Irish people”.

What happened was wrong and a breach of trust. Behaviour of this sort undermines confidence in the vaccination programme.
The CEO should be held accountable for his actions by the board of The Beacon Hospital.

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