Disciplinary process under way for staff in Savita case
A DISCIPLINARY process involving staff who treated Savita Halappanavar is under way.
Tony Canavan, chief operating officer, West/North West Hospital Group, said the process began last month following a special board meeting of the group.
He added that the established disciplinary process was now under way and was being overseen by independent experts.
"In the interest of restoring public confidence in the maternity services at UHG (University Hospital Galway), the group's executive management team decided to include expertise from outside of the hospital to assist in this process and to engage independent oversight of the processes applied by the review panel.
"We will take all appropriate action in light of this proceedings," said Mr Canavan, speaking at the HSE West/ North West Forum.
However, hospital management refused to elaborate on the actions being taken or against whom.
Chair of the forum, Cllr Padraig Conneely, questioned what specific action was being taken and against whom, referring specifically to consultant Katherine Astbury, who was Ms Halappanavar's main consultant.
Referring to the HIQA report into the death of the 31-year-old who died at UHG on October 28, 2012, he said: "Let's not brush it under the carpet, it's critical of the consultant.
"It makes damning reading. It's an embarrassment for any person involved in public healthcare to have to read it," he added.
But Bill Maher, CEO of Galway Roscommon hospital group, warned the chair that he was moving into "very dangerous territory" which was beyond the procedures of the forum.
He stressed that the disciplinary process was under way, adding that the hospital did not need to answer the question further.
Tony Canavan also confirmed that ongoing investigations by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland and the Irish Medical Council had advanced to preliminary hearings.
Hospital staff are continuing to co-operate fully with the ongoing hearings, he said.
Pointing out that this was the first maternal death at the hospital in 16 years, Mr Canavan said the board of management were "determined that we will learn from this tragic event and take all action necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of all pregnant women".