Statement on the Cavan hospital inquiry
The Minister for Health and Children has, in the last few days, appointed a Committee of Inquiry to examine matters of complaint in relation to two consultant surgeons in Cavan General Hospital.
The recently-established Committee is the third such Committee to be appointed by the Minister for Health and Children in this matter. The first, established in September 2003 had to be disbanded due to the withdrawal of both the appointed Chairman and one of the consultant representatives. A second committee was appointed by the Minister in October 2003. This had to be disbanded in December 2003 due to a perceived conflict of interest of one of the consultant representatives and the subsequent refusal of the second IHCA member to continue due to, amongst other things, non-payment of fees for committee work.
The intervening period has been taken up with an extensive exercise to identify consultants, without any potential conflict of interest, who are willing to represent their colleagues on the Committee of Inquiry. The IHCA has indicated an unwillingness to submit a list of names to perform this work due to the non-payment of fees to its members, despite the Department´s willingness to provide locum cover for both committee members, to indemnify all committee members against any legal action arising from committee work, and to pay travel and subsistence to the consultants concerned.
I am confident that this new committee, established with the assistance of retired consultants, will allow the matter to be resolved without any further delay.