Savita nurses delay returning to work in maternity unit after stress leave
A NUMBER of nurses who took stress leave following the death of Savita Halappanavar have returned to work – but have delayed taking up their old posts at the hospital's maternity unit.
Following the death of Ms Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway last year, a number of staff took stress-related leave. While the large majority have returned to their previous duties, several of them have opted not to return immediately to the maternity unit l.
Galway Roscommon hospital group CEO Bill Maher said staff were receiving all the support they needed.
He confirmed that while they were back at work several nurses were not yet ready to return to the maternity ward in the hospital.
"A number of staff went on stress-related leave. Most of them are actually coming back to work now, but some of these are not yet ready to go back into the maternity unit," he said.
Mr Maher added that a number of staff who had since gone on maternity leave had taken the decision to extend that leave as a result of the tragic death of Ms Halappanavar.
"At different points it affected different volumes of staff. A couple of staff themselves went on maternity leave so they would have extended their maternity leave," he explained.
Mr Maher said that threats against staff had calmed down in recent months, but flared slightly again following the publication of the HSE clinical report into Ms Halappanavar's treatment and care. Earlier this week he revealed how staff had been subjected to a number of "vile" threats which had to be passed onto gardai.
"Some of the stuff you would say they wouldn't be serious, some of them were very specific. We did take the security of our staff very seriously and we did look to support staff in every way possible.
"It seems to have calmed down a piece now. The recent report launched renewed some interest in that area. I met with all the staff again just to reassure them of our support," he added.
The CEO of the hospital group said the report into the failings at the hospital had been "very difficult" for him to receive but his focus was now on rebuilding public confidence in the hospital.
"We don't for any one minute want to disrespect Praveen Halappanavar and his family. It was a tragic report, it was very difficult for me as the CEO to receive. We're already working on implementing the recommendations.
"I regret entirely the service on that day but that was extraordinary in terms of the normal high quality that we deliver. And I want this hospital to rebuild the public confidence and not be defined by one catastrophic tragic event.
Savita Halappanavar (31) died on October 28 last at Galway University Hospital. She was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital a week earlier suffering a miscarriage.
A clinic review into her treatment found there had been inadequate assessment and monitoring of the patient. The HSE has promised to implement all the recommendations in the review into her death.