August 15, 2008

Mum’s Death Probed By GMC


THE UK's top medical watchdog was today considering whether action is to be taken over the care of a Londonderry mother who took the life of her daughter before killing herself, it has emerged.

The General Medical Council has confirmed it was currently examining the results of the independent inquiry into the deaths of Madeleine O'Neill and her nine-year-old daughter Lauren at their home in Carryduff, Co Down in 2005.

A GMC spokeswoman said today: "We can confirm we have received the inquiry report and we are currently looking at what action, if any, may be necessary."

An independent report into the mother and daughter's deaths earlier this year concluded that the Western and Eastern Health and Social Services Boards had failed to follow basic procedures.

Mrs O'Neill, who had a history of depression, had left Gransha Hospital in Derry two weeks before she died.

It emerged however that the Derry woman had told three health professionals of her suicidal thoughts and of her intention to take her daughter with her. The planned inquest into their deaths next month has now been put back to a later date.

In July this year it emerged Health Minister Michael McGimpsey warned health chiefs no stone would be left unturned to get answers about the treatment of Mrs O'Neill.

The Western Health and Social Care Trust said its position had not changed in light of the GMC's current examination of the report.

A spokeswoman said: "The Western Trust has worked closely with colleagues in other Trusts, the Western Health and Social Services Board and the Department of Health to ensure the independent inquiry report recommendations are taken forward.

"The Western Trust established a Senior Management Review Group to consider each professional's input into Mrs O'Neill's care against what would be expected as best practice. As part of this, the Trust's professional leads in Nursing, Medicine and Social Work carried out reviews which examined individual staff roles.

"The Western Trust is satisfied that a robust investigation was carried out appropriately in line with our procedures and the Framework for Handling Concerns about doctors in the health and personal social services. This included an independent review of medical practice by the same consultant psychiatrist used by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. In the context of this work a decision was made not to refer any individual to their regulatory body."

Originally published by BRENDAN McDAID [email protected]

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