Amendments to a Bill that will introduce mandatory open disclosure in the healthcare system will be brought forward by the Minister for Health next week.
Stephen Donnelly and his department officials have been consulting with members of the 221+ cervical cancer campaign group, as well as other patient representatives and interested parties after the original proposals were dismissed as "flawed".
The Government had initially hoped to get the legislation that would require the mandatory open disclosure of serious patient safety incidents through the Dáil before Christmas but agreed to delay this to allow for further discussion.
As the Irish Examiner reports, Mr Donnelly agreed to make changes to the legislation, which aims to provide patients with greater transparency and is viewed as an important part of the legacy of reform and transformation that campaigners, including Vicky Phelan, fought for in the wake of the CervicalCheck scandal.
The main amendment being brought forward by Mr Donnelly next Wednesday will make it mandatory for patients to be informed of their right to patient-requested reviews.
Department of Health officials have been in contact with patient representatives in recent weeks in a bid to develop a review process that is designed to work for the patient.
The proposed amendment states that a patient may request a review of the results of a screening that has been carried out by a cancer screening service in relation to the patient. It also stipulates that the health services provider which received the request shall carry out the review.
It adds that the patient must be informed in writing "either before or at the time the cancer screening service carries out the cancer screening on that patient, of his or her right to make a request for a review."
The proposed amendments also state that a healthcare service must make the open disclosure "at a time when it considers to be appropriate", however, it adds that it is desirable to inform patients "as soon as practicable".
In the wake of Vicky Phelan's death, the Taoiseach had promised that the new laws would pass before Christmas, but the Minister cautioned that even with "best will in the world" making more changes would push the Bill out to the new year.