Warnings on Portlaoise hospital not heeded - Hiqa

Charlie Flanagan Laois Fine Gael TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Leaked details from the draft Hiqa report show a number of recommendations were not acted upon in the past.

Leaked details from the draft Hiqa report show a number of recommendations were not acted upon in the past.

The report into the deaths of five babies at the hospital was due to be published at the end of 2014, but there is still no publication date.

Leaked extracts from the draft report show that the 2007 HSE review of the maternity unit in Portlaoise recommended the appointment of additional senior midwives. Hiqa says its recommendations were not fully implemented until 2014, after the media highlighted serious adverse events.

Between 2008 and 2013, Hiqa published six investigations on a variety of issues, which made recommendations relevant to the HSE and hospitals. “Had these recommendations been implemented in Portlaoise the authority is of the opinion that their implementation could have vastly reduced the identified risks in the services being provided to patients,” the report finds.

Hiqa received seven pieces of unsolicited information about patients’ experiences in the maternity, emergency and acute services in Portlaoise between 2008 and 2012, the report says.

On foot of this information it contacted the HSE and the hospital about risks to patient safety, including the provision of 24/7 care in the emergency department in the absence of access to CT scans. It was also concerned about a backlog in radiology and deficiencies in corporate and clinical governance structures.

There have been several calls for the publication of the Hiqa report as soon as possible.

“It is essential that the HIQA report into Portlaoise Hospital is published in full immediately,” Deputy Brian Stanley said. “The drip feed of information is not acceptable and efforts by the HSE to prevent publication are wrong. The damning report shows that the Government failed to provide adequate resources to meet the needs of Portlaoise as a busy regional hospital,” he said.

“Publication of the full HIQA report is necessary so that lessons can be learned not just for Portlaoise hospital, but for all hospitals across the country,” Deputy Sean Fleming said.