'It better not happen again': Health Minister reacts to 'utterly offensive' memo

'It better not happen again': Health Minister reacts to 'utterly offensive' memo

"It better not happen again" is the warning from the Health Minister after an embarrassing memo was issued by the HSE suggesting staff could use minimal force to remove people from hospital beds after they had been formally discharged.

The HSE's Director General Tony O'Brien has apologised for the memo which was prepared by the organisation's office of legal services.

Mr O'Brien told the Oireachtas Health Committee that the HSE "absolutely regretted" any concern caused to staff or patients.

He said the memo should never have been distributed and was withdrawn two weeks ago by the person who had received it.

He said the reference to "minimal force" was not a suggestion that such an action should be used but a reference to the legal position, and said there had never been and never would be a direction suggesting that minimal force should be used on patients.

Minister Simon Harris said the memo was "utterly offensive" and he wanted no repeat of it.

He said: "I set policy within the health service. This is not the policy of the Irish public health service. I've made that very clear to the HSE.

"I'm very pleased the director general has taken the opportunity to apologise to patients, families and frontline staff for any offence caused.

"I'm very pleased the memo has been rescinded. It shouldn’t have happened and it better not happen again."

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