The SDLP’s Colin McGrath MLA has welcomed the findings of the Neurology Inquiry and said it highlights the need for a re-evaluation of the way the health service manages patients’ complaints.
Commenting, the SDLP’s Health spokesperson has said:
“First and foremost, over one thousand patients received an incorrect diagnosis. Many of these diagnoses resulted in a medication regime that was intrusive, life changing and totally inappropriate for their condition. In some of the extreme instances, individuals were given a terminal diagnosis and had begun preparations for end of life care, only to find out later that this was an incorrect diagnosis. The pain and suffering that all of these patients have had to endure.
“It is a shame that the practitioner involved has so far evaded accountability and we must see legislative change to ensure that when a medical practitioner commits gross malpractice that they are held fully accountable. Underlying this chapter is a Trust and Department who were expected to provide the safeguards and oversight that failed to do so. The Trust and Department must instigate a review of their own processes and how complaints are managed and clinicians held to account.
“A further cruel twist in this saga is the issue of redress. The patients were promised a scheme and therefore did not make any of the necessary legal preparations required for a civil claim. Four years after this promise was made they were told that this would no longer be the case. It follows that with the passing of time, many patients will not have the necessary paperwork to pursue a civil claim. Empty and false promises from the department are wholly unacceptable and the Minister must explain why his officials made such a promise, only to then renege.
“This whole sorry saga has weighed on patients and families’ minds, and while what is announced today will vindicate their campaign, there are still more questions than answers as a result. While this chapter has ended, the Department and Trust must now prepare for the questions that will be asked of them. Patients deserve accountability, redress and closure to this matter.”