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Maternity hospital gets revamp after legal alert

THE National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street has been granted permission to expand after the HSE was told facilities in the hospital were resulting in law suits.

An Bord Pleanala said the hospital can now go ahead with plans to build a six-storey extension.

The HSE approved the expansion in 2008, four years after an internal report told them that inadequate facilities and staffing were a factor in patients successfully suing the hospital for poor birth outcomes. Details of the 2004 report showed that courts were finding the hospital negligent for not adequately monitoring mothers before they are transferred to delivery wards.

The report went on to say that the hospital was exposed to serious financial settlements for "sub-optimal outcomes" for newborn babies.

The lack of designated ward area and shortages of midwives to monitor pregnant women after induction in early labour was a major factor in these settlements.

In one case a €3m award was made to a child born with cerebral palsy. The plaintiff's solicitor in the case stated that following induction of labour the mother was not sufficiently monitored.



compromised

It was alleged that the baby had an acute hypoxic episode while the mother was on the antenatal ward and due to insufficient monitoring the infant was born in a "compromised condition", the report stated.

The report added that the hospital was unable to provide women needing induction of labour (around 27pc of admissions) with a designated ward area or a staffing level that would facilitate close monitoring of the mother and her unborn baby.

The 2004 report also referred to safety concerns about overcrowded wards and said on busy days women were accommodated in the corridor waiting for a labour room to become free.

It is hoped that the expansion of the hospital's capacity will prevent further actions.

The ground floor will have an emergency entrance, a cafe extension and two shops.

Four treatment rooms and one clinical room will be located on the first floor, while the second floor will have a therapeutic garden.



Relieve

The second floor will have a six-bed ward, a six-bed day unit, a single bedroom, three treatment rooms and other facilities. Three operating theatres and an anaesthetic room will be on the third floor and 22 cots on the fourth.

"The use of the new extension will be mainly clinical to relieve the existing hospital services." the application stated.

hnews@herald.ie


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