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Published on 18 February 2008

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Committee backs superbug probe

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Pressure is growing on Northern Ireland’s health minister Michael McGimpsey to launch a full public inquiry into the deaths of 36 patients amid a superbug outbreak.

Mr McGimpsey has so far resisted demands for a full independent probe into the ongoing Clostridium difficile (C difficile) infection in Northern Trust area hospitals, but it has now emerged that Stormont’s Health Committee supports an investigation.

The health minister had claimed that a review currently being undertaken by healthcare regulatory body RQIA would be sufficiently robust.

Members of Mr McGimpsey’s scrutiny committee had tabled a motion on the floor of the Assembly calling for the minister to change his mind.

And they came to a unanimous decision after hearing evidence from the chief executives of the province’s five hospital trusts and the government’s chief medical officer during an evidence session at Parliament Buildings.

Health Committee chair Iris Robinson said a full independent investigation needed to be carried out in order to allay growing public concerns.

She said: “I don’t want to be limited, and I don’t mean any disrespect, to a quick fix inquiry. I would like a full blown public inquiry as I feel it’s the only way, because of the serious nature of this, to address the lack of confidence which is in the health service at this present time.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety



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