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Minister announces Serious Adverse Incident investigation

Health Minister Robin Swann has informed the Assembly that a Level Three Serious Adverse Incident investigation will be undertaken on the COVID-19 outbreaks at Craigavon Area Hospital.

The Minister made the announcement after chairing discussions this morning about the latest situation at the hospital. The meeting involved senior officials from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, the Public Health Agency and the Department of Health.

The Southern Trust has confirmed that that a fourth patient who was treated on the Haematology Ward at Craigavon Hospital, and who had tested positive for Covid-19, sadly passed away this morning.

Mr Swann stated: “I said on Friday that a thorough investigation is required and that patients and bereaved families are entitled to answers.

“I can now confirm that a Level Three Serious Adverse Incident review will be initiated. This will be independently chaired and I expect its findings to be made public.

“I also want to again express my deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those who have passed away. I am deeply sorry that families have been plunged into grief in such disturbing circumstances.”

The Minister said the Southern Trust’s immediate priorities are to care for affected patients and staff and prevent further spread of the virus.

“The Public Health Agency gave me an assurance at the meeting that all the actions that have been requested to reduce spread have been implemented by the Trust.

“I was also assured by the Southern Trust that support is available for families, patients and staff.”

The Minister concluded: “There are undoubtedly questions that will have to be answered by the Trust in relation to these outbreaks. There is also a lesson for us all to keep heeding – Covid-19 remains a lethal and highly infectious virus.”

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