Health

Saturday 26 July 2014

Revealed: the eight maternity units failing to publish safety record

Praveen Halappavanar with a photograph of his wife Savita
Praveen Halappavanar with a photograph of his wife Savita

THE eight maternity units which are failing to publish statistics showing their safety record and childbirth data are revealed today for the first time.

Following an investigation arising out of the death of Savita Halappanavar, it emerged in November that eight of the country's 19 maternity units had not been publishing annual reports.

The names of the maternity units which were not making public disclosures were not revealed -- but the Irish Independent has obtained the confidential information following a Freedom of Information request.

The units are in Mullingar, Wexford, Mayo, Limerick, Portiuncula, Letterkenny, Portlaoise and South Tipperary Hospital.

Some of the units compiled annual statistical clinical reports but they remain internal documents and are not published.

The failure of so many hospitals to declare their statistics was uncovered during the investigation carried out by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) into the care of Ms Halappanavar in University Hospital Galway in 2012.

This also looked at key systems of care in other units across the country.

These reports are essential to provide an insight into mother and infant deaths, pregnancy as well as other key areas such as rate of caesarean section.

HIQA which asked for the information in 2013, was surprised to seen reports for 2012 were not yet available for the majority of maternity hospital and units at the time of the investigation.

It recommended that the HSE develop, publish and implement a set of national performance measures for maternity services with a clear focus on patient outcomes.

RISK

The documents, obtained by the Irish Independent, which were sent by the HSE to HIQA in the course of its investigation, reveal the maternity unit in Mullingar did not produce any report, not even for internal use, in 2011 or 2012.

This was also the response in relation to the unit in Portlaoise.

The maternity unit in Mayo General said it had a full set of clinical data available and would publish it in early 2014.

Limerick Regional Maternity Hospital, which has been providing services for 50 years, admitted it had not produced a report but was collating data relating to 2012. It was its intention to publish it and also do so from now on.

There was no annual obstetric clinical report for the unit in Portiuncula in Ballinasloe for 2011 but it would be included in a Group Women and Children's Directorate Annual Clinical Report for 2012.

It told HIQA that "if a clinical event occurs in our obstetric unit, these are reviewed at our obstetric risk management meeting and the incident is reviewed with recommendations and any corrective actions put in place".

A spokeswoman for the HSE said it would be mandatory for all 19 units to publish their statistical data from 2014 onwards.

Irish Independent

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