The Belfast Trust will take no action against Northern Ireland's chief scientific adviser after he was accused of misleading a coroner investigating the death of a child, it can be revealed.
It has emerged that the trust, acting as Professor Ian Young's employer, carried out an investigation into allegations made by a public inquiry into his work.
However, it subsequently decided no further action was required.
Prof Young was informed of the decision on March 5, 2019, but it has now become public after it was revealed during a court hearing last week.
Prof Young, a member of advisory group Sage, who is playing a key role in our pandemic response, has mounted a High Court bid to stop an official probe into "serious criticism" of his work by the Hyponatraemia Inquiry.
Claire Roberts was nine when she died from hyponatraemia caused by fluid mismanagement at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in 1996.
She was one of five children whose deaths were examined by the inquiry, which blasted the health service for its culture of defensiveness and secrecy, and described her death as preventable.
The inquiry report accused Prof Young, who carried out an independent review of her treatment for the Belfast Trust, of "misleading" the coroner at an inquest into her death in 2006.
The inquiry chair also found that Prof Young "shifted from his initial independent role… to one of protecting the hospitals and its doctors", and that he did not tell Claire's parents about failings in her treatment.
Prof Young is challenging a decision by his professional regulatory body, the General Medical Council (GMC), to overturn an earlier decision not to investigate the "serious criticism" of his work.
During an outline of the case last week, counsel for the GMC explained it contacted Prof Young in November 2018 to inform him it would not be proceeding with an investigation into the allegations.
The lawyer continued: "In March 2019, Prof Young's employers followed suit, the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, again considered the contents of the inquiry's report in detail and having taken their own external advice, decided that no further action was required, and that was communicated on March 5, 2019. That decision of the GMC was then reversed and substituted by the GMC in decisions dated January 9, 2020 and March 27, 2020, and those of course are the decisions which are under challenge."
The Hyponatraemia Inquiry was announced in 2004 following a television documentary about the deaths of three children, which alleged they all died as a result of mistakes by hospital staff. By 2008 the inquiry was extended to include two more children, one of which was Claire.
Following the publication of the Hyponatraemia Inquiry report in January 2018, a fresh inquest was ordered into Claire's death after the inquiry chair said there had been a cover-up to "avoid scrutiny".
A spokesman from the Belfast Trust said: "We're unable to comment on an ongoing judicial review."
Northern Ireland’s chief scientific adviser is mounting a High Court bid to block a disciplinary investigation into allegations he failed to tell the family of a nine-year-old girl who died about “failings” in her treatment.