Medical chiefs from three hospital trusts criticised in Sir John O’Hara’s damning report have made an unreserved apology.
Speaking on behalf of the Belfast, Western and Southern Health and Social Care Trusts, Dr Cathy Jack acknowledged there had been “many failings”.
In a statement Dr Jack, a medical director with the Belfast Trust said: “We welcome today’s publication of the report and will urgently review the recommendations to ensure that all possible steps have been
taken to prevent this from ever happening again.
“We made mistakes. We were not as open and transparent as we could and should have been and opportunities to learn from each other and to make our care safer were missed.
“For this we are truly sorry.
“Surely there can be no greater pain for a parent than to lose their child and then to learn that errors occurred which were avoidable.”
Sir John’s inquiry into the deaths of five children found four of them were avoidable.
In his scathing report he said medics should stop putting their own reputations and interests first and put the public interest first.
Dr Jack said more must be done to promote openness and transparency within the healthcare system.
She added: “Anyone that reads this report will be deeply saddened at the events of 15 or 20 years ago and how it took an independent inquiry into the deaths of these five children to get the answers we have today.
“You could not be affected and moved by what we heard.
“There were elements and statements in that report that made me feel ashamed on a personal level.
“But, I have to recognise that for every item and every doctor or nurse criticised there is another 10 or 100 who actually need to be recognised for their hard work and commitment.”