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Doctors would have to admit mistakes under new law

This comes after comments made by Minister Leo Varadkar to the Oireachtas Health Committee.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall

A NEW LAW will see medical professionals become legally obliged to admit their mistakes.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Health Committee yesterday, Minister Leo Varadkar announced his plans to introduce the measure.

The Minister described incidents in which medical professionals fail to adhere to a duty of candour and disclose the relevant information as being “the equivalent of a hit-and-run.”


The advocacy group Patient Focus has said it “warmly welcomes” the announcement.

It has called for the Minister to extend any policy to include private hospitals as well as public ones.

It has also requested that any measure be extended to management and that a separate agency equivalent to the Road Safety Authority be set up to deal with health incidents that might occur.

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The HSE has guidelines on open disclosure. It was piloted as a programme in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin University Hospital and Cork University Hospital between October 2010 and October 2012.

Two prominent incidents pointed to by Patient Focus were the Anti-D blood scandal and the activities of Dr Michael Neary.

The Anti-D blood scandal involved a large number of women being administered with contaminated blood products. Approximately 1,200 women contracted the virus after being treated with the blood. 

Dr Michael Neary was struck off the medical register for performing a high number of caesarian hysterectomies – a process in which a woman’s womb is removed –  in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth. It was thought this occurred due to poor monitoring of medical practice at the hospital.

Read: Leo: We’ve no mandate for abortion referendum, Mick Wallace: That’s horseshit

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