Wednesday 18 October 2017

1,500 incidents and 'potential medical hazards' in maternity units to June

Earlier this week, Dr Sharon Sheehan, the master of the Coombe hospital in Dublin, warned of a staffing crisis. Photo: Tom Burke
Earlier this week, Dr Sharon Sheehan, the master of the Coombe hospital in Dublin, warned of a staffing crisis. Photo: Tom Burke
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Maternity hospitals and units across the country reported more than 1,500 incidents where a patient was harmed or there was a potential medical hazard in the first six months of the year.

The statistics are revealed in the latest monthly patient safety reports for June, which all 19 units now make public.

From the beginning of this year, maternity hospitals and units have had to publish patient safety statements each month following a demand by the watchdog Hiqa.

It will be the end of the year when a fuller picture of maternity services and the variance in rates of caesarean sections and practices will emerge.

More than one-in-three women has had their baby delivered through a caesarean section. Earlier this week, Dr Sharon Sheehan, the master of the Coombe hospital in Dublin, warned of a staffing crisis.

Read more: Maternity hospitals 'face major staff crisis'

She said this was happening while they were dealing with more complex pregnancies due to obesity and older women having fertility treatments.

The compensation payout for medical negligence nationally will reach a record €300m this year and much of this is due to obstetric cases.

Next month's Budget is expected to have funding for the phased implementation of the country's first maternity strategy to modernise services.

Ireland still has a relatively low number of obstetricians.

And this while nearly all hospitals are reporting significant numbers of women with multiple pregnancies.

Irish Independent

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