Midwives set new standards of care
The country's 2,500 midwives have been told they must provide safe, competent, kind, compassionate and respectful care to patients while also ensuring they kept up their training.
The rules are set out in a new set of standards by their regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), in the wake of the Portlaoise Hospital controversy.
A highly critical report on standards of care in the maternity unit is due to be published shortly by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), which carried out an investigation following the deaths of five babies in similar circumstances over a number of years.
A previous report by the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan into the maternity unit criticised the way in which patients were treated in a "poor and sometimes appalling manner".
He called on the regulator to explore how to improve the competence and development skills of midwives. Midwives should keep up-to-date with midwifery practice by undertaking relevant continuing professional development, according to the updated rules.
The Hiqa report is expected to have wide implications for maternity care across the country and highlight the manner in which there was poor monitoring and surveillances of standards by senior HSE managers.