Chair appointed to public inquiry on retired urology consultant

A top QC has been appointed to chair the Public Inquiry into the work of a consultant at the Urology Department in Craigavon Area Hospital.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 11:58 am

Health Minister Robin Swann has asked Christine Smith QCto chair the inquiry into ‘serious concerns’ of the clinical practice of Mr Aidan O’Brien.

He had announced an inquiry into the work of the retired consultant last November.

Mr Swann said it is only the start of ‘what is likely to become a long and detailed investigation’.

Christine Smith.
Christine Smith.

He said: “I believe that is the best way to ensure that the full extent of the concerns is identified and for the patients and families affected to see that all relevant issues are pursued in a transparent and independent way.”

He said he aims to get the inquiry fully underway by this summer (2021) .

He added: “The next step will be to finalise the terms of reference for the inquiry, following engagement with the Assembly’s Health Committee and the patients affected by the lookback, and to finalise the members of the Inquiry Panel.

“Ms Smith is a very experienced Queen’s Counsel with a background in public inquiry work.

“She is Senior Counsel to the Independent Neurology Inquiry and was Senior Counsel for the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry,” said Mr Swann.

“She also appeared for the Department of Finance in the RHI Inquiry. I believe that her professional expertise and recent involvement with inquiries equips her to chair the Urology Inquiry.”

The Minister also reiterated the unreserved apology to the patients and their families he issued in November.

Mr Swann said: “I wish to reassure them that I will endeavour to ensure that they obtain appropriate treatment and support and the care that they need.”

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