Maternity legal claims reach 56 so far this year
At least 56 compensation claims against maternity hospitals have already been lodged so far this year, it emerged yesterday..
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the State Claims Agency, which handles compensation claims, does not give the number lodged against individual maternity hospitals.
"Many claims are settled in circumstances where the plaintiffs wish to retain confidentiality concerning the settlement of their cases," he said in a parliamentary reply to Renua leader Lucinda Creighton.
It comes as the HSE announced an external three-person panel which will examine if individual managers and other staff should face disciplinary action arising out of the Portlaoise Hospital scandal
The HSE-commissioned inquiry into managerial responsibility will be headed by Peter Colcough, an NHS manager in the UK for 30 years, and Neil McKay who also held several senior NHS posts from 1970 to 1988.
The clinical investigation will be led by Gillian Duffy, a nurse and midwife who currently provides advice to the UK Quality Assurance Team for NHS England.
The HSE said the terms of reference will be finalised once the external team begin their work and they will consult with the families whose babies died in the maternity unit at Portlaoise before they are finalised.
The inquiry follows the damning Hiqa report on Portlaoise, which found failures at local, regional and national levels of the HSE.
Holles Street obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan said yesterday: "Human error does occur. We we must accept that. But when mistakes are made, they should be acknowledged.
"A policy of open disclosure must be included in legislation," he said.