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Professor Ian Young's role in fight against virus questioned


Spotlight: Professor Ian Young’s position has been questioned by the TUV leader

Spotlight: Professor Ian Young’s position has been questioned by the TUV leader

Spotlight: Professor Ian Young’s position has been questioned by the TUV leader

TUV leader Jim Allister has questioned whether Northern Ireland's chief scientific adviser should be allowed to remain in post.

The MLA asked Health Minister Robin Swann whether it is "tenable" for Professor Ian Young to play such a significant role in the pandemic response, despite the fact that a public inquiry found he misled a coroner investigating the death of a child in a Northern Ireland hospital.

Claire Roberts, who died from hyponatraemia caused by fluid mismanagement, was one of five children whose deaths were examined by the Hyponatraemia Inquiry.

In a subsequent explosive report, chair of the inquiry Mr Justice O'Hara said that Professor Young - who was appointed as an independent expert to review Claire's treatment - had misled a coroner examining the nine-year-old girl's death.

Addressing Mr Swann at the Assembly yesterday, Mr Allister asked: "Does his department fully accept the findings of the O'Hara inquiry into hyponatraemia, which included a finding that Prof Ian Young, who reviewed the case of Claire Roberts, had identified failings in the fluid management of Claire but failed to inform the family and the coroner of this fact and instead provided misleading information that was intended to protect the hospital and the doctors?

"How then, is it tenable for that person to continue to hold a key public facing role with that finding as the voice of the department on matters of great public health importance?"

Mr Swann said he and the department accept the 96 recommendations made by the inquiry, but stopped short of saying whether he agrees with the findings.

The minister also referred to comments made by Mr Justice O'Hara in the Hyponatraeamia Inquiry report that individuals he criticised "were not able to defend themselves" as they would in court.

North Antrim MLA Mr Swann also noted that Mr Justice O'Hara had stated he was "aware that individuals who were criticised may attract adverse publicity, affecting both reputation and career, therefore where critical comment is made of an individual, it must be addressed in the context of the limitations of the process".

Belfast Telegraph

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