Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has called on the head of the HSE Tony O’Brien to act swiftly to implement the recommendations of the HIQA investigation into services at Portlaoise hospital. The review, which was commissioned following the deaths of five babies at the hospital, examined patient safety practices and concluded that the HSE did not take sufficient action to address these issues.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “This is a shocking report, which exposes the chronically weak levels of oversight and inaction by the HSE nationally, regionally and locally. It failed to deliver safe clinical services and put patients’ lives at risk. What’s worse is the fact that management were well aware of the risks posed by these unsafe practices but they failed to take any decisive action to rectify the situation.
“HSE bosses allowed Portlaoise hospital to continue to operate on a 24/7 basis despite a series of safety and quality of care issues which were never acted upon. They also failed to resource the hospital sufficiently and to ensure that the governance arrangements in place could safely deliver services to patients.
“The Government and the HSE ignored alarm bells about the safety risks which were being highlighted at the hospital and patients are suffering as a result. It is scandalous to think that the HSE failed in its duty to exercise any meaningful oversight of services despite repeated warnings. Patients across the Midlands have every right to feel concerned by the findings in this report.
“The HSE and Minister for Health must be held accountable for the systematic failures that were allowed to prevail at Portlaoise Hospital It is essential that the recommendations contained in the HIQA report are implemented without delay to ensure that public confidence in the services and the HSE is not further undermined. There are also significant lessons for Minister Leo Varadkar and the Department of Health to learn and it is imperative that he moves quickly to bring patient safety up to the required standards”.