Sunday 22 April 2018

HIQA 'not asked' to investigate four baby deaths at Cavan General Hospital

An investigation is underway at Cavan hospital.
An investigation is underway at Cavan hospital.

Ed Carty

Health watchdogs were not asked to investigate a hospital where four newborn babies have died in two and a half years, it has been claimed.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) revealed a baby died after being born yesterday in Cavan General Hospital, following two newborn deaths last year and one in late 2012.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) confirmed it did not launch its own independent inquiry into newborn deaths at the hospital despite public calls last May by former health minister James Reilly.

A spokesman for the watchdog said no formal request was made by government.

"We were not asked to," the spokesman said.

Hiqa said following concerns about baby deaths at the time it included Cavan in its "programme of monitoring of compliance with national healthcare standards".

The controversy over baby deaths in Cavan and questions over why an independent inquiry was not launched follow a damning report into care in Portlaoise hospital maternity units published last Friday.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar is today meeting parents of those affected by newborn deaths in Portlaoise.

Elsewhere, Hiqa is expected to face questions on the issue of newborn deaths when it attends the Oireachtas Health Committee this afternoon.

"Cavan General Hospital can confirm that a baby sadly died in the maternity department," the HSE said.

"Cavan and Monaghan Hospital management would like to offer its deepest sympathy to the family on their tragic loss and hope they will be given the privacy that they need to deal with their grief. The hospital will give the family every assistance and support required.

"As is normal practice a full review of the circumstances surrounding the death will be carried out."

Press Association

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