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Call for C difficile deaths probe


Politicians in Northern Ireland have backed a call for a full public inquiry into an  outbreak of Clostridium difficile that has been linked to the deaths of 41 patients.

The province’s health minister Michael McGimpsey has already said he is “minded” to launch an independent probe into the C difficile outbreak which hit the Northern Trust area hospitals.

However, he said he will only do so after an ongoing review by the health service’s regulatory body – the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) – is concluded.

But MLAs have now backed a motion from the minister’s scrutiny committee that a separate public inquiry should be launched as soon as possible.

Mr McGimpsey said that while it is important to allay public concerns regarding hospital-acquired infections, a full inquiry will take at least 12 months, while the review he has initiated would report back within 12 weeks.

But health committee chair Iris Robinson said only a rigorous independent investigation of the outbreak could ease public fears.

She said: “The committee, after hearing from trust chief executives and (the department’s) chief medical officer unanimously called for a full public inquiry.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Northern Ireland Assembly

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