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Maternity services at the hospital were found to be not safe or sustainable The report found the families were sometimes treated in an appalling manner Tony Holohan’s report found that information that should have been given to the families was withheld
The Clinical Director of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise has apologised to the parents whose babies died at the maternity unit at the hospital.
In a statement this afternoon John Connaughton said the hospital and staff wish to apologise unreservedly for the unacceptable communication with the families at a time they most needed honesty compassion and kindness.
Asked why the parents of the babies were not told at the time of their death why the children had died, Mr Connaughton said investigations had begun but these investigations did not proceed at the rate they should have and that was unacceptable and cannot happen again.
A report into the deaths of a number of babies at Portlaoise Midlands Regional Hospital has found maternity services at the hospital are not safe or sustainable.
The Health Service Executive has put in place a transition team, which is now in control of maternity services at the hospital.
It will oversee the integration of Portlaoise Hospital Maternity Service with the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.
The General Manager of Naas General Hospital has taken over responsibility of the maternity unit at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise with immediate effect.
A senior midwife at the Coombe Hospital has been appointed to the role of director of midwifery at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.
The report was carried out by the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health following the broadcast of an RTÉ Investigations Unit programme, which examined the deaths of four babies at the maternity unit.
The report found that the families and patients were treated in a poor and, at times, appalling manner.
CMO Tony Holohan’s report also found information that should have been given to the families was withheld for no justifiable reason.
It said poor outcomes that could likely have been prevented were identified and known by the hospital, but not adequately or satisfactorily acted upon.
The report concluded that the Portlaoise Hospital Maternity Service cannot be regarded as safe or sustainable within its current governance arrangements.
It found a shortage of staffing in Portlaoise was not the root cause of the problem. On occasions during critical incidents the correct staffing numbers were in place.
Minister for Health James Reilly has asked the HSE to look at other similar sized maternity services around Ireland.
It will consider their incorporation into managed clinical networks within their relevant hospital group.
The Health Information and Quality Authority is to conduct a full inquiry into the maternity services in Portlaoise hospital stretching back over a number of years.
Minister Reilly said today was a watershed moment in the Irish health service and would result in a change in patient safety.
He told RTÉ’s News at One that cultural, training, management and governance issues had to be addressed at the hospital.
Infant’s father remains angry at HSE
The father of one of the babies who died at the hospital has said there is nothing in the report that his family has not been highlighting to the HSE for the past number of years.
Mark Molloy’s son Mark was one of the infants who died at the maternity unit.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr Molloy said he believed the scale and significance of the measures announced today were unprecedented in Ireland.
He said there was a sense of pride in the work he and his family had carried out over the past two years in highlighting the problems.
However, Mr Molloy said he remained very angry with the HSE.
He said the family had been highlighting the issues about the maternity services at senior and national director level, but those concerns were ignored.
Mr Molloy said the department had found today that these same concerns needed immediate attention.
He said: “For us, when everything’s implemented, when we have statistics we can rely on, when we have a syntocinon policy, safe maternity units, nobody is going to say ‘well done, here’s your little boy back’. Mark still will be gone for us.
“Whatever sense of pride … and comfort we get in knowing that other babies may go home safely, it pales in significance to the loss we have had to endure to get to this day.”
Further death being investigated
Mr Holohan has confirmed that the death of another baby in Portlaoise Midlands Regional Hospital is currently being investigated.
The death occurred subsequent to the death of baby Mark Molloy in 2012.
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- Prime Time – Thursday 30th January 2014