Sunday 11 December 2016

A health system unfit for purpose

Published 14/03/2010 | 05:00

The revelations from Tallaght Hospital over the past week have been deeply shocking. It is still not clear whether the management at the hospital was so dysfunctional that it had no idea of the scale of the problems it faced.

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But it is abundantly clear that the hospital had no concept of its duty of care to its patients. System failures no doubt played their part in the accumulation of thousands of X-rays that were not read by a consultant radiologist and the thousands of referral letters that were ignored, but there can be no excuse for the way in which the hospital responded to these crises.

Its management displayed an unbelievable lack of urgency in rooting out the cause and extent of its problems once they were formally alerted to them by Prof Tom O'Dowd, a GP. Even the intervention of the Health Information and Quality Authority failed to shake hospital management out of its complacency and it has taken almost a year for the hospital to admit the true scale of its problems.

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