Press Release

Government agrees Judge Clark to advise on appropriate redress scheme following Lourdes Hospital Inquiry

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D. today announced that the Government agreed to ask Judge Maureen Harding Clark to advise on an appropriate scheme of redress arising from the findings of her Report on the Lourdes Hospital Inquiry. The Tanaiste said she was pleased that Judge Clark has accepted to undertake this work. Judge Clark will also advise on the cost of such a scheme and on a mechanism for ensuring the maximum recoupment of such costs from wrongdoers and indemnifiers.

The Tánaiste said “I am convinced that Judge Clark is the best person to advise the Government on the issue of an appropriate redress scheme based on my discussions with Patient Focus and the reaction of various other parties to the Report on the Lourdes Hospital Inquiry. The quality of Judge Clark’s work and report has been universally acknowledged and I believe that she can bring her unique insights and skills to bear on the issue of redress. She has the respect and confidence of the women affected and the other parties involved.”

The Tánaiste also said she has asked her Department to develop proposals to address the need for stronger clinical governance arrangements throughout the health system. She said “In addition to the actions already being taken in relation to the preparation of the new Medical Practitioners Act, the reform of the consultant contract and changes in hospital management systems, I believe there is a need to analyse the implications of the Report for the health system as a whole.

We need to address the risk of such a level of malpractice happening again in the future. This means we need to identify and tackle weaknesses in any part of our health system – be it regulatory, governance, organisational, managerial or clinical. I intend to bring proposals to Government shortly to establish a process to ensure that the lessons of this Report are built into stronger clinical governance arrangements throughout the health system.”