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Calls grow for C difficile probe

18 February, 2008  

Northern Ireland’s health minister is under pressure to launch a public inquiry into the deaths of 36 people who died after contracting Clostridium difficile (C difficile).

Michael McGimpsey faced new calls for a full inquiry after Stormont’s Health Committee backed up requests for a further investigation.

The minister has so far resisted demands for a probe into the outbreak at the province’s Northern Trust hospitals, claiming a current review by the regulatory body RQIA will provide enough information.

Members of Mr McGimpsey’s scrutiny committee tabled a motion at the Assembly calling on the minister to change his mind.

Health Committee chair Iris Robinson said a full independent investigation was the only way to tackle growing public fears over hygiene and safety in Northern Ireland’s hospitals.

“I don’t want to be limited, and I don’t mean any disrespect, to a quick fix inquiry,” she said.

“I would like a full blown public inquiry as I feel it’s the only way, because of the serious nature of this, to address the lack of confidence which is in the health service at this present time.”

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Northern Ireland Assembly