NI health minister considers medical error disclosure law

By Gillian Crotty

Northern Ireland health minister Edwin Poots has said that he would be inclined to introduce a law in Northern Ireland that would impose criminal penalties on medical staff who do not make full disclosure of hospital errors.

Westminster is already considering such a law, known as a "statutory duty of candour", for England and Wales, and when asked about bringing the measure to Northern Ireland, Mr Poots indicated that he was currently waiting on a report setting out the merits of the law. He did however say he "would be somewhat inclined that we go with the duty of candour", but qualified that he did not see it as the "entire solution".

He confirmed that if the law was introduced, medical staff who did not give full details of any shortcomings in the treatment of a patient who suffered harm or serious injury would face criminal sanctions.

It has just recently been confirmed that 11 deaths of patients of the Northern Ireland Health Trust are being investigated after it was considered that the response of the Trust was "below standard".

If you have suffered injury or loss as a result of poor medical care or delayed treatment at a hospital in Northern Ireland, contact one of the medical negligence solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt for information on your compensation options by calling 0800 840 9289.