140. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health when he will bring legislation forward to provide for mandatory open disclosure (details supplied). (Question 19323/18 asked on 03 May 2018)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I am, and have always have been, fully committed to open disclosure. It is a patient’s right to be provided with honest, open and prompt communication about adverse events that may have caused them harm. This is underpinned in the Medical Practitioners Code of Conduct.

I have been progressing for some time a number of policy and legislative provisions to ensure full implementation of open disclosure. Specifically, legislation, that is, the Civil Liability (Amendment) Act was passed last year, Part 4 of which provides for open disclosure. These provisions were drafted to create a safe space for staff to be open and transparent with patients in order that they would be given as much information as possible, as early as possible, including an apology where appropriate.

During the Report Stage debate of these provisions I fully committed to examining how legislation could be expedited to provide for mandatory open disclosure to patients of serious incidents.

In this regard, I am bringing to Government next week, a Memo which will provide for a stand-alone Patient Safety Bill. This Bill will include provisions for mandatory open disclosure to patients of serious incidents.

To copper fasten this approach and to ensure transparency the Bill will also include mandatory external notification of these serious incidents to the relevant regulator such as HIQA and the Mental Health Commission.

I can also confirm that the HSE has assured me of its full commitment to implementing the current open disclosure policy and that all of the important policy and legislative initiatives will be implemented in full.