The HSE is consulting with trade unions, representing health workers, about the terms of reference for the inquiry it is commissioning to examine if anyone should face disciplinary action arising out of the Portlaoise Hospital controversy, the Irish Independent has learnt.
The decision to allow the HSE to commission the inquiry, to be conducted by a team from the UK, has already been criticised by families who believe it should be completely independent.
It has now emerged that consultation with unions has taken place - even though staff who are members of the unions will be under investigation by the external team, set up to establish if there were issues relating to conduct which need to be followed up.
The inquiry follows the recent Hiqa report into safety standards at the hospital where five babies died.
It criticised staff at local, regional and national levels of the HSE.
The families whose babies died in the hospital have yet to be consulted on the terms of reference.
The HSE said that as the potential outcome of any investigation into staff conduct could have adverse findings and sanctions against workers, it was necessary to discuss the terms of reference with the unions.
The setting up of the review is behind schedule, although the team who will conduct it has been appointed.