Backlog of 58,000 x-rays uncovered at Tallaght hospital
One of the country's largest hospitals was criticised today for being grossly understaffed after a backlog of almost 58,000 X-rays was uncovered.
An inquiry into the scandal found a shortage of radiologists at Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght, whose workload was too high, while some 3,500 GP referral letters had been opened but not processed.
The Hayes Report revealed that, despite radiologists raising concerns 30 times between 2005 and 2009, there was an absence of formal policies and protocols at the facility, difficulties with radiology IT systems and persistent problems with the typing of reports.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) review was launched last March when Tallaght Hospital confirmed one patient had died as a result of the backlog, while another was undergoing cancer treatment.
The inquiry team, led by Dr Maurice Hayes, revealed severe systemic and other weaknesses at management level, while the structures of the hospital's board were not robust enough to provide governance, supervision and direction.
The HSE said it accepted the findings of the report and was implementing its recommendations.
In a statement, the Adelaide and Meath Hospital said it accepted that serious issues were identified in the past and were not always dealt with promptly and effectively.
The Board said the main issues raised by the Hayes Report were unacceptable but have been resolved.
"The hospital wishes to restate the deep regret issued on 9 March concerning two patients who suffered through delayed diagnosis," it added.
The report stated that the issue of unreported X-rays was an IT problem where the scans had been looked at but an audit found no record of this on computer files.