Northern Ireland Announces C. Difficile Public Inquiry Panel

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Former Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dame Deirdre Hine is to chair the panel that will take forward the Clostridium difficile public inquiry.

Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey also announced the Terms of Reference for the inquiry into the outbreak of C difficile in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust hospitals between 16 June 2007 and 31 August 2008.

The Minister said: “The terms of reference for this inquiry are wide-ranging. The inquiry will aim to establish how many people died in the course of the outbreak, and will examine the experiences of patients and others who were affected by the outbreak.


“We must hear from the people who suffered as a result of the outbreak; that is, the patients who contracted the infection, their families and the people who have lost loved ones. We owe it to them to provide them with an opportunity to have their voices heard so that we can learn from their experiences and restore public confidence in the health service.

“I have asked the panel to report its findings and recommendations to me within 12 months.”

Commenting on her appointment as chair of the panel, Dame Deirdre Hine said: “This public inquiry offers an important opportunity for everyone who has been affected by this outbreak to tell us about their experiences.

“The success of the inquiry will depend on people telling us their stories, and we will make every effort to ensure that the people who have been affected have opportunities to do that. We would encourage people to contact us as soon as possible. If people tell us about their experiences of the outbreak, the whole health service can learn lessons from the outbreak.”

The Minister has appointed three other people to serve on the inquiry panel: Dr Jocelyn Cornwell, an independent healthcare consultant and a founding director of the Commission for Health Improvement; Mrs Eleanor Hayes, former Director of Nursing and Governance at Belfast City Hospital Trust and Green Park Hospitals Trust; and Professor Robert Stout, formerly Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Queen’s University of Belfast.