Management accountability needed in maternity services failure at Portiuncula

04 May 2018

Commenting on the report into maternity services at Portiuncula Hospital, Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has said that the management need to take accountability for what happened and lessons have to be learned.

Deputy Kelly said: 

“Serious lessons have to be learned at Portiuncula Hospital following the long-awaited report into the failure of maternity services. 

“After a week, where women’s health has been to the fore for all the wrong reasons, this report into maternity services at Portiuncula Hospital is a damning indictment of how we treat pregnant women in this country.

“Having spoken to some of the families affected, I understand they are not happy with the findings of the report. No amount of apologies from the Saolta group will be of any comfort to the families at the centre of this scandal. State services have failed these families – and once again women and children were left particularly vulnerable and suffered.

“The report was originally due in the summer of 2015 and has taken almost three and a half years to compete, which has added enormous suffering to families who have already a traumatic experience in the hospital. This is unacceptable.

“There has been a complete lack of efficiency around this review. If we look back to 2015, and the timelines leading to the carrying out of this review, the Saolta group have many questions to answer. At the time, the Saolta group were more concerned about their public relations profile rather than ensuring the families at the centre of this scandal were communicated with.

“There has been a lengthy list published of the failures in the delivery of maternity services in Portiuncula and it is difficult reading. We know from reading the report that serious errors in management occurred in 10 cases that would have probably made a difference to the outcome for those babies.

Are there other investigations or reports being conducted on other cases in the hospital that were not covered by the review? I understand there may be. Will Minister Harris clarify?

“We need to do better for pregnant women in Ireland. Barely three years has gone by since the review of maternity services in Portlaoise Hospital. Women outside of Dublin, Cork and Limerick need to have faith in the provision of maternity services provided to them. Reports like this into Portiuncula and previous reports into Portlaoise do little to ease concerns.”

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