Thursday 22 March 2018

Investigation ordered into latest Cavan baby death

Health Minister Leo Varadkar: Services must be safe
Health Minister Leo Varadkar: Services must be safe
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

An external investigation is to be ordered into the death of a baby during a Caesarean section in Cavan Hospital last week, it was learned yesterday.

The inquiry, which will be headed by experts from outside the hospital, is the fourth investigation into a baby death in the hospital.

Three other babies died in the previous 30 months and reviews into the circumstances of the tragedies have yet to be completed.

A spokeswoman for the HSE North East said Cavan and Monaghan Hospitals have "commenced the process of establishing an external investigation team to undertake an independent review of the incident from last week".

Meanwhile, parents who lost babies in Portlaoise Hospital said they would like input into the terms of reference for a HSE-commissioned review of the conduct of staff at all levels and failures to act on warnings to reduce patient risks with a view to disciplinary inquiries.

Roisin Molloy, who lost her son Mark, said: "Our preference would be for a completely independent investigation. But in the absence of that, it is essential we have input into the HSE review."

It will be conducted by an overseas expert. HSE chief Tony O'Brien repeated yesterday the HSE must be more robust in putting its case forward about patient safety when government decisions about financial resources are made.

In response, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said: "I accept that resources have been tight in the health service in recent years. But a €13bn budget is still a substantial amount of money and the HSE has a responsibility to ensure that services are safe and to prioritise funding accordingly. I am actually concerned at any attempt to blame all the failings on resources.

"It's clear that there were other failings in Portlaoise, including management, professional standards and teamwork. No amount of resources can correct failings in those areas.

"I am not ruling out a public inquiry but I want the disciplinary process to conclude first. My own focus is on ensuring that the eight recommendations made in the Hiqa report are implanted in full."

Meanwhile, the Laois Offaly Families for Autism will today highlight the long delays of up to three years for therapies for children with autism in Portlaoise compared to Tullamore.

Irish Independent

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