The HSE has failed to meet its deadline to hire an external consultant to examine who should be accountable for the Portlaoise Hospital scandal.
HSE chief Tony O'Brien, who was himself heavily criticised by parents, promised to have an independent consultant from abroad look at "accountability" at all levels of the service following the damning Hiqa report on the hospital where five babies died.
However, a HSE spokeswoman said yesterday that the tender process to select a suitable independent international authorities to undertake the review was only started two weeks ago.
She said this was completed at the end of last week.
"The selected reviewers have received formal offers of the assignment and we are now awaiting their formal acceptance and negotiating suitable start dates with them."
The HSE has promised the parents who lost babies in Portlaoise they will have a say in the terms of reference for the inquiry which is to take three months.