02/11/2001

Human Organs Inquiry set to answer public’s questions

The Human Organs Inquiry set up by the Department of Health has invited members of the public to come and air their views and listen to health service staff as well as relatives affected by the retention of human organs in Northern Ireland.

Three public sessions are to be held in hotels in Londonderry, Craigavon and Belfast in order to review past and current post mortem policy and practice, with a particular focus on organ removal, retention, and disposal.

The Chairman of the Human Organs Inquiry, John O’Hara QC, said: “We have arranged the sessions because the Inquiry Team want to give the public an opportunity to ask questions and tell us about their views and expectations”.

Over the summer period the Inquiry received written submissions from over 100 individuals and organisations. Mr O’Hara believes that the public sessions will advance debate by giving relatives and the wider public an opportunity to hear directly from some of the health service staff involved, who will discuss why procedures operated as they did and what has been done to improve them since, in response to public concern.

Each day-long session will include contributions from a clinician, a pathologist and a hospital administrator as well as from relatives and their representatives.

The first public session will be in the Everglades Hotel, Londonderry on Thursday, 15 November. Others have been arranged for the Seagoe Hotel in Craigavon on 22 November and for the Europa Hotel, Belfast on 29 November. All sessions will begin at 10:00 am.

Encouraging members of the public to attend, Mr O’Hara said “The Inquiry Team wants to help people understand what happened in the past, and why. Their views on those events and practices will help shape the recommendations the Inquiry makes for the future”. (AMcE)

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