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The Patient Safety (Notifiable Patient Safety Incidents) Bill 2019 is now published

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The Patient Safety (Notifiable Patient Safety Incidents) Bill 2019 is now published

The Irish Government has announced the publication by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, of the Patient Safety (Notifiable Patient Safety Incidents) Bill 2019 (the “Bill”).  The Bill will legislate for important patient safety measures and forms part of a broader programme of legislative changes to improve the ability of the health service to identify and respond to patent safety issues. The Bill covers both public and private facilities.

Patient safety measures

The Bill is divided into eight parts, comprising of 54 sections. The key elements covering patient safety priorities include:

- Provisions for a robust framework for mandatory open disclosure
- Mandatory open disclosure of specified serious patient safety incidents, such as wrong site surgery or patient death.  Where a notifiable patient safety incident occurs a disclosure must be made to the patient or other relevant person
- Option for the Minister to designate other patient safety incidents in line with advancements in clinical  practice
- Procedures for open disclosure
- External notification of patient safety incidents to the regulator and other designated bodies
- Clinical audits
- Extending the remit of Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) to private hospitals

Next steps

The Bill builds on the voluntary open disclosure procedures introduced in 2018 under the Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017.  The Bill will be initiated before the Houses of the Oireachtas.  It must then pass through the various legislative stages (including committee stage, report stage and final stage). After passing through the Houses, the Bill will be sent to the President for signing into law. 

It is not possible to predict the length of time that it will take a Bill to progress through the various legislative stages, as is can be influenced by a number of factors such as amendments and other priority legislation taking precedence. Notwithstanding the delay in progressing the Bill since publication of the General Scheme in July 2018, the Minister has consistently messaged his department’s commitment to “driving openness and transparency to ensure patient safety”. It remains to be seen whether this commitment will ensure the timely passage of the Bill through the legislature.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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