The draft law requiring physicians to disclose errors is “seriously flawed,” says Mary Lou McDonald

Government proposals for disclosure requirements for physicians telling patients what may have gone wrong are “seriously flawed,” said Mary Lou McDonald, chair of Sinn Féin.

He said she doesn’t think the Dáil can “let go” of some flaws in the bill that follows the death of cervical cancer activist Vicky Phelan.

A two-hour debate to process the changes is not enough, she said. “We’ve waited four years for this law.”

However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the bill – due to go through the Dáil today – is in line with the Scally report on the scandal of false swab results not being shared with patients.

“People presenting for screening are advised that they can request a review of their records if a cancer occurs between their first and second screening,” Martin said. The statutory disclosure requirement would close the gap in patient protection and is “exactly” in line with the recommendations,” he said.

“We just want to do what’s right for women in Ireland.”

Ms McDonald said there is no legal obligation for clinicians to tell the woman at the time of diagnosis that she has the right to review. She said she had the support of Labor Party leader Ivana Bacik on the matter. The latter reiterated her desire to postpone the debate on the Patient Safety Act until next week.

Ms Phelan has been very clear about what she wants to see, Ms McDonald said, which is change and accountability, with mandatory disclosure meaning a legal obligation for clinicians and healthcare providers to tell a woman if it is “inconsistent, erroneous or incorrect”. ‘reading her cervical cancer screening slide.

The bill didn’t provide for that requirement, she said. “We have a problem there [it] does not provide for this mandatory disclosure. A right of review is provided for, and that is to be welcomed, but there is a difference between a right of review and a positive obligation on the part of a doctor or healthcare provider to disclose or share information.

“Legal accountability for clinicians and organizations is what women have fought for. It’s Dr. Gabriel Scally recommended action.

“I believe there are still serious flaws in the legislation. I do not believe that the changes proposed by the minister address these shortcomings.”

She added: “When we marked Vicky’s death we said we would work together. What that means. in my firm opinion. is that we are adjourning the debate for two hours today and that there will be more time next week.”

Ms McDonald also said she was also concerned a requested review would be received

the case of a cervical swab would mean “that the laboratories themselves would actually decide on the scope and form of the assessment.

“I don’t think we can pass legislation that will let these things go.”

The Taoiseach said he would ask the Chief Whip, Jack Chambers, to get in touch with him

the opposition is whipping things up. The draft law requiring physicians to disclose errors is “seriously flawed,” says Mary Lou McDonald

Fry Electronics Team

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