Anger at 'spurious' probe into patient care at hospital
Published 10/08/2010 | 05:00
AN investigation into patient care at a Co Cork hospital has been branded "spurious" and damaging to patients.
The criticisms came as the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) set out its terms of reference for an investigation into aspects of care at Mallow General Hospital (MGH).
Labour TD Sean Sherlock said MGH provided a valuable service to north Cork and that local GPs had the utmost respect for the work carried out by their colleagues at the hospital.
"The hospital was not expecting it. It is our understanding that this is a spurious investigation. It doesn't make sense," he said.
"People who have been operating within the hospital for years are absolutely flabbergasted by this because they don't understand where it is coming from. If there was an inkling that patient care was compromised in any way we would have heard about it."
HIQA says it will undertake an investigation into the quality and safety of services and the supporting arrangements provided by the HSE at the hospital.
The inquiry will particularly examine critical care, anaesthetic services, surgery, emergency services and acute medicine at the hospital.
The authority says it has identified specific concerns about aspects of care at the hospital following the receipt of information about the types of patients being treated there.
"This has raised concerns about potential risks to the health and welfare of persons receiving certain types of care at Mallow General Hospital centred on the provision of major surgery, the emergency department and critical care services," HIQA said.
The authority reportedly sought assurances from the HSE regarding arrangements for managing any potential risks to patients receiving these types of services at MGH.
"However, the information received to date has not provided the authority with sufficient assurance that these risks are being effectively managed."
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) called on HIQA to widen its investigation to other facilities around the country.
A spokesman said recent budget cuts and the staff recruitment embargo had impacted on big and small hospitals and put them under increasing strain.
"It is vitally important that every hospital providing patient care is sufficiently funded to meet the demands for health care placed upon them," he said.
"The investigation team should look not just at a single hospital but quantify the impact of this HSE policy on other hospitals throughout the country."