Saturday 14 December 2019

Spate of maternity hospital deaths need independent investigation - Dáil hears

Micheal Martin spoke in the Dáil today. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Micheal Martin spoke in the Dáil today. Photo: Gerry Mooney
John Downing

John Downing

The spate of recent maternity hospital deaths urgently require independent investigation, the Dáil has been told.

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, told TDs that the maternity services in Ireland were to a high standard and basically safe overall.

But there were concerns about two deaths at Cavan and another at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin reported this week. He also mentioned other deaths including those in Portlaoise and Ballinasloe.

Mr Martin said there was an over-reliance on internal reviews when such incidents occurred and there was a need for independent outside investigation to get the facts and help restore public confidence.

"Do you accept that our maternity services are under-resourced and that there is a need for urgent intervention?" Mr Martin asked the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Fianna Fáil leader that only an extra €3m was provided for maternity services in 2016 and the overall health budget was "fictional."  There was now an over-reliance on locum doctors and agency nurses.

Mr Kenny said such deaths were a source of great sadness and there was a need to respect families' confidentiality and special needs at a difficult time.

The Taoiseach said all these incidents will be investigated. He said internal reviews were being advanced and that if necessary independent investigations would be set up.

Mr Kenny said that there was now an overall national maternity strategy and patient safety was prioritised.

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