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Patients need urgent reassurance over Southern Trust urology concerns, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the public will be shocked by the serious concerns expressed about the clinical practice of a hospital consultant but said it should not have taken a further event of this nature for the ongoing independent neurology inquiry to be converted into a full public inquiry.

Health Minister Robin Swann has ordered the inquiry after hundreds of families contacted his Department as a result of a review into Southern Trust urology consultant Aidan O’Brien, with over 1,000 patients’ records having been recalled.

“There will be shock among the public that already 271 families have been contacted about areas of concern relating to treatment over just an 18-month period, with nine already meeting the threshold for Serious Adverse Incident review,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“While I have no doubt every effort will now be made to support the patients affected and their families, incidents like this constitute a serious breach of public trust in our health service. That is why a public inquiry is the right move, and why one is also long overdue into neurology. It should not have taken an event of this scale for that to happen with regard to neurology.

“The question many people will have is whether this sort of failure may still be occurring in the Southern or any other Trusts. While it is important to look back, it is also essential to determine what is happening currently. Public inquiries are only one route to achieving this. What is also required is swifter implementation of transformation, including improved processes of identifying, reporting and dealing with alleged malpractice.”