Health Minister Robin Swann, has extended the deadline to allow for more key stakeholders and members of the public to respond to a consultation on a proposed duty of candour law for Northern Ireland.

Minister Swann said: “A number of bodies have requested an extension to the consultation period and I have agreed to move the closing date to the end of August to afford more opportunity, for anyone who wishes, to make comments on the proposals.

“In particular we would like to hear the views of members of the public. This is a very complex issue and the consultation is being held to make sure that we get it right. We want to receive as wide a range of views as possible.”

Legislation on a duty of candour was among the recommendations of Mr Justice O’Hara in his independent report on hyponatraemia-related deaths, which was published in January 2018. The consultation document was written by a working group of experts, including service users and carers.

The consultation, which commenced on 12 April, was scheduled to close on 2 August 2021, but the deadline for submission of responses is being extended until 31 August. It details proposals for legislation to ensure that health and social care organisations, and individuals

who work for them, are open and honest about mistakes made in the course of treatment and care, so that there can be learning from those errors, which in turn will lead to continuous improvement in health and social care services here.

In addition to the main consultation document, which goes into a lot of detail, there is an “easy read” version of the document. It is entirely open to consultees to respond by means of the questionnaire provided, or in any other written format. It is not necessary to answer any or all of the questions. The Department will accept short, focused responses if members of the public simply wish to register their insights, experiences, evidence or opinions. The documentation is available on the Department of Health website

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