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Robin Swann says Southern Trust urology patient recall is an 'immediate priority'

Robin Swann made a statement on the recall of urology patients at Craigavon Area Hospital following revelations in The Irish News. Picture by Pacemaker

THE HEALTH minister has described a major patient recall at the Southern Health Trust as an "immediate priority" for his department.

Robin Swann made a statement on the recall of urology patients at Craigavon Area Hospital following revelations in The Irish News earlier this week.

The consultant urologist at the centre of the probe retired in June but worked at the hospital for a significant period.

Mr Swann confirmed that a small number of patients had been contacted.

He said the Department of Health had been notified on by the trust on July 31 that "clinical concerns" had been identified in relation to the consultant's work.

"An internal exercise was immediately initiated by the trust and is ongoing in order to ascertain the number of patients whose care may need to be reviewed," he said.

"I am extremely concerned about any issue that involves the potential for patients to come to harm within our health and social care system, however, it is important to stress that the vast majority of urology patients in the Southern Trust will be unaffected by the issues that have come to light."

The minister said the investigation would be comprehensive and anybody whose care needed reviewed would be contacted as quickly as possible.

"My department's immediate priority is to ensure that the Southern Trust completes this initial phase of work in the weeks ahead in order to minimise and prevent any potential risk or harm to patients," he said.

The Department of Health has set up what it termed an "assurance group" to provide external oversight to the trust's process.

Mr Swann said he would publish terms of reference for the group alongside his assembly statement.

Urology patients or their carer who have concerns about their treatment and would like information should contact the Southern Trust on 0800 4148520.

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