Council

Trust quiet on safeguarding measures following failed circumcision procedure on twin babies

 South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen
Tanya Fowles, Local Democracy Reporter

The General Medical Council (GMC) has confirmed they are aware of an alleged incident involving a doctor employed by the Western Health and Social Care Trust, and assured action will be taken to restrict practice in the event a risk to patient safety is identified.

The Trust however is not stating what safeguarding measures have been enacted due to “confidentiality issues regarding employees”.

This relates to a police investigation in County Fermanagh on November 6 in which two people have been charged with child cruelty.

While details of the alleged incident are vague, it is known twin boys aged around three months, were rushed to South West Acute Hospital in Fermanagh then transferred to Intensive Care at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

 It is understood the incident relates to a failed circumcision procedure.

Shortly afterwards, police confirmed the arrest and charge of two people, both of whom were released on bail and to appear in court later this month.

A third person was arrested several days later and released, pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

The arrested doctor is employed at South West Acute Hospital.

In response to an enquiry, a GMC spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns regarding a doctor at Western Health and Social Care Trust and are working with the Trust via our outreach team to understand these. As with all cases, we will take action to restrict this doctor’s practice should we find evidence of an immediate risk to patient safety.”

The Western Trust was asked to clarify the position and outline action taken in respect of safeguarding.

A spokesperson replied: “Due to confidentiality reasons the Trust is not in the position to comment on issues regarding individual employees.”

It was pointed out to the Trust there is a requirement to reassure the public in respect of safeguarding, particularly in light of serious confidence issues including concerns expressed by members of the medical profession.

The Trust referred to the previous comment around employee confidentiality.

A third opportunity was offered in which the Trust was advised clarification of safeguarding does not contravene employee confidentiality, and there is a responsibility to reassure the public it is taking the issue seriously under their duty of care to patients and public confidence.

The Trust stated it had nothing further to add.

While it can be assumed the Trust is aware of the situation having cited employee confidentiality it is unclear what if any precautionary measures have been enacted.

However, the Public Health Agency confirmed: “An early alert was received from the Western Trust, but it would not be appropriate to comment further on an ongoing police investigation.”

Meanwhile the Department of Health spokesperson said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on an ongoing police investigation.

This was also the response from the Health and Social Care Board.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) advised: “We understand that the PSNI and Western Trust are undertaking investigations into this issue, however, RQIA is not involved in this matter.”

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