Thursday 21 June 2018

Review into maternity services at Portiuncula hospital to be published next month

'It's been a very hard process' - Warren Reilly and his wife Lorraine lost two daughters in the hospital

Warren and Lorraine Reilly, who lost babies Asha and Amber. Photo: Andrew Downes
Warren and Lorraine Reilly, who lost babies Asha and Amber. Photo: Andrew Downes
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A LONG awaited review into maternity services at Portiuncula hospital is set to finally published next month.

A review into standards of maternity care, including two baby deaths, in Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe was commissioned in late January 2015.

It began its work in March of that year and was initially due to be completed five months later. Since then deadlines set down for the completion of the long awaited report have been missed repeatedly with the affected families left in limbo as to when they will receive a final copy of the report. 

A total of 18 births at Portiuncula between 2008 and November 2014 are being investigated by the nine-person inquiry team which is headed by Prof James Walker, Prof of Obstetrics in the University of Leeds.

After missing yet another proposed deadline in December, the families received a letter from Prof Walker acknowledging that the delays were “frustrating” but stressing it was in the interests of fair procedures.

It informed families that the review was now considering all responses from people named in the addendum to the report and in minutes of meetings, adding that a "significant volume of responses" had been received.

On Tuesday of this week families received further word from Prof Walker that the team had reviewed all the feedback submitted to them from all interested parties. He said the team had now “completed the penultimate draft of the report” and was awaiting some final commentary from a number of interested parties.

It said most of this content was due to be returned by February 23 and stressed it was not proposing giving these parties further time for comment. However, it added that in the interest of fairness a small number of these parties may need a further fortnight to provide feedback

“We therefore anticipate that our final report will be released to the SAOLTA Group within two weeks of receipt of the final replies, which we currently expect will be during the course of March,” it stated.

“As we are nearing the end of this difficult process, I thank you again for your continuing patience in this matter,” it added.

One of the families affected said they desperately need some form of closure.

Warren Reilly and his wife Lorraine lost two daughters in the hospital, Asha and Amber in 2008 and 2010.

“At this stage it’s beyond what anyone should expect. It has been a very hard tiring process for everyone involved really. At this stage for the families sake we just want to see the process resolved and any recommendations that come out of it, that are beyond the individual reports, to see that they get implemented,” he added.

Mr Reilly welcomed the work that had begun on implementing the recommendations included in the individual case reports, but said there were still a lot of questions for families until the final report is completed.

A spokesperson for the Saolta group said the review was external to the group adding; “In the meantime, work is underway to progress the implementation of the recommendations from the individual system analysis reports previously provided to families. There is an Implementation Group in place which has representatives from a number of the families involved and is meeting on an on-going basis.”

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