THE Health Minister has called for a report into the tragic deaths of four babies at the Midland Regional Hospital.
The request by Dr James Reilly follows a TV documentary that investigated the deaths at the hospital in Portlaoise which occurred over a six-year period.
The programme, which aired last night, found that the babies all died in similar circumstances and that there was a failure to implement the findings of a report into one of the deaths.
A senior figure in the HSE "apologised unreservedly" to the families if any of the agency's actions had added to their grief.
Dr Philip Crowley, the National Director of Quality and Patient Safety, told the Prime Time Show: "I absolutely regret if any actions that we've taken in how we've either undertaken the investigations or dealt with the reports has added to people's grief and I apologise unreservedly for that."
The programme, which aired last night, found that the babies were alive at the onset of labour, but died either during labour or within seven days of birth.
There were no 'congenital abnormalities' in any of the cases identified and found that other factors had led to the four deaths.
The Prime Time show found the HSE and the hospital failed to implement the recommendations and that such changes to patient care may have saved the lives of the three other babies who died in similar circumstances.
One of the couples that told their story, Roisin and Mark Molloy, had their fifth child in Portlaoise hospital in January 2012 but were left grieving when their baby son Mark died soon after he was born.
Two years previously Shauna Keyes and Joey Cornally, had also lost their baby son Joshua in similar circumstances.
Both babies died due to a lack of oxygen and the cases were reviewed by hospital authorities and the HSE.
The reviews found care failures in both cases including a failure to recognise and act on foetal distress.
The HSE review into the second death found that the recommendations of the first review had not been implemented.
Mr Molloy told the documentary: "It was fresh in their minds -- all of these recommendations. Had it meant something Joshua's recommendations would have been implemented and Mark would be here today with us."
The HSE has accepted that it didn't implement all of the recommendations of the reports into the babies' deaths saying they prioritised staff training
Minister Reilly said he has asked his secretary general to ask the chief medical officer to bring a report to him as quickly as possible
"It can go back over ten years, that's not an issue. I think there's been a lot of talk recently about statistics in terms of perinatal death, in terms of paternal deaths and I want to have myself and the public reassured that our statistics are accurate and will hold up to scrutiny form the best in the world."