Five additional infant care cases are now under review at hospital
Five additional infant care cases are being examined at Portiuncula Hospital, it has been confirmed.
Initially, 18 births at the hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, between 2008 and November 2011, including two baby deaths, were being investigated by the inquiry team, headed by Prof James Walker, Prof of Obstetrics in the University of Leeds.
However, it has now emerged that five further cases are being examined separately, bringing the total number of births under review at the hospital to 23.
It's understood the additional cases all pre-date January 2015, when the initial review was being established, with some of them going back a number of years. A spokesperson for the Saolta University Health Care Group confirmed the additional cases but stressed they were independent from the ongoing Walker review.
"The five new are being considered as five separate reviews, independent of the publicly launched review chaired by Prof James Walker, and of each other. They involve a combination of internal reviews and reviews involving external experts," it stated.
The group has refused to say how long the new reviews are expected to take but insisted it would have no impact on the time scales for the Walker review. It launched in March 2015 and was due to take five months, but more than 15 months later the affected families are still awaiting answers.