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HSE ‘unable’ to fulfil Scally recommendation for open board meeting

The HSE will be unable to fully comply with a recommendation in Dr Gabriel Scally’s review into CervicalCheck that an annual report on open disclosure be presented in public session to the board, according to a discussion at its quality and safety committee.

Recommendation number 32 of the Scoping Inquiry into CervicalCheck, published in September 2018, stated that an annual report on the operation of open disclosure “must be presented in public session to the full board that is to be appointed to govern the HSE”.

The implementation of the Scally report’s recommendations was discussed at a meeting of the HSE’s quality and safety committee on 14 July 2020, the minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent (MI) through Freedom of Information law.

As of 9 July 2020, the HSE had completed 105 of 116 actions from the implementation plan.

“Given the challenges that have arisen due to the Covid-19 pandemic, much of the remaining work on the implementation of the recommendations has not been concluded and work on implementing the remaining recommendations and actions will be re-prioritised in line with the ongoing planning for delivery of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 services,” according to the minutes.

The committee discussed how best to implement recommendation 32 of the Scally report. “It was agreed that full compliance with this recommendation would not be possible as the board does not sit in public,” according to the minutes.

“However, the committee recommended that in order to ensure the closest compliance possible, the report should go to the board as an agenda item at the earliest opportunity, a comprehensive minute of the board discussion should be published as part of the board minutes, and the open disclosure report should be made available to the public on the same day as the board meeting.”

A HSE spokesperson told MI the draft annual report on the National Open Disclosure Programme was presented by the Chief Clinical Officer to the HSE board on 25 September, 2020. This was reviewed by the board members and feedback provided. The draft annual report was amended to incorporate the feedback from the HSE board. The report was approved for publication by the HSE board on 27 November.

“The publication of the 2019 report on the National Open Disclosure Programme was delayed in 2020 due to the redeployment of all the staff in the National Open Disclosure to work on Covid-19,” according to the spokesperson.

“The 2019 annual report was published in November 2020 following approval by the HSE board  and is available on the HSE website.”

The 2020 annual report will be prepared and presented to the Board of the HSE in quarter 2 of 2021 and will also be published on the open disclosure website.

The spokesperson added that, at the end of last year, 113 out of 116 actions have now been completed across the HSE.

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