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Private hearings in inquiry into urology services in the Southern Health Trust

A series of private hearings with patients and families is being held by the Chair of the Urology Services Inquiry which started this week.

Chairperson Christine Smith said that, in advance of the formal opening of the Inquiry in November, she is holding the private hearings to learn, first hand, about their experiences with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

The hearings which were held on Tuesday (21st June) through to Thursday (23rd June), were held in private to protect patients’ privacy with redacted transcripts being made available on the Inquiry website ensuring that patients’ details cannot be identified.

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Public hearings will be held in November, when the Inquiry officially opens, with the team calling evidence from employees and former employees of the Trust, the Department of Health and Mr Aidan O’Brien former constulant Urologist at the Trust.

Mr Aidan O'Brien, consultant surgeon. INPT51-230. JPI Media

Established to review the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s handling of urology services prior to May 2020, Chair Christine Smith has personally written to those patients and families that the Inquiry has identified as having had treatment that met the threshold for a Serious Adverse Incident, inviting them to inform the Inquiry about their experiences.

Christine Smith, said: “While the work of the Inquiry is focused on issues and systems of governance concerning the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, behind those issues are patients and families who were adversely affected by the treatment that they received from the Trust.

“The Inquiry expects to make recommendations when it concludes gathering all its evidence which, if accepted, will positively impact patient safety.

“It is important, therefore, that our work is informed by patient experience and that patients and families have an opportunity to tell the Inquiry about their experiences and that we have an opportunity to listen to them.

“I would once again urge anyone who wishes the Inquiry to know about what happened to them or their family member to contact our team, and I would like to assure any witness who engages with the Inquiry that they will be treated sensitively throughout the process.”

Anyone who wishes to inform the Inquiry of their experiences can do so by downloading a questionnaire from www.urologyservicesinquiry.org.uk. A copy can also be accessed by telephoning: 02890 251141 and giving the team a name and address