Deputy Pat Rabbitte
Minister for Health and Children
the progress she has made in the establishment of an inquiry into the alleged abuse carried out by a doctor (details supplied) in the north east; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney):
I met with the support group, Dignity 4 Patients, on 29 October 2009 to inform them of my decision, in consultation with the Cabinet and the Attorney General, to establish an independent review to examine whether further investigation into the case of Mr. Michael Shine would be of public benefit. I also made a commitment to the group to establishing a full statutory investigation should this review so recommend it.
The Terms of Reference for this review, which I announced on 29 October 2009, are as follows:
To examine and recommend to the Minister for Health and Children:
(a) Whether a further investigation into the procedures and practices operating at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda during the period 1964 to 1995 to protect patients from sexual abuse while undergoing treatment or care at the hospital and to deal with allegations of sexual abuse against Mr Michael Shine, would be likely to provide additional information or insights which would be of significant public benefit in helping to improve present best practice guidelines and policies (including the Children First Guidelines), which apply to the treatment of patients in hospital for the purpose of protecting such patients from being sexually abused.
(b) The examination and recommendation should have regard to:
1. The report of the Independent Review Group (1996);
2. Current guidelines and policy concerning the treatment of patients in hospital, including the Children First Guidelines and relevant rules of professional conduct and medical ethics;
3. The views of groups or individuals representing complainants including the group Dignity 4 Patients;
4. The need to avoid prejudicing ongoing civil or criminal proceedings or investigations.
I am satisfied that these terms of reference allow the review to give support groups, including Dignity 4 Patients, and of course all concerned groups and individuals, an opportunity to engage with the process, present their views, be heard in full and have those views taken into account in the outcome of the review.
I hope to be in a position to confirm who will be the independent person undertaking the review very shortly.