Sean Fleming T.D. has said there must be an independent enquiry carried out by the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) to investigate the HSE handling of tragic deaths of 4 babies in the Portlaoise Maternity Unit and the subsequent cover up of this by very senior people in the HSE.
Both I and everybody I spoke to were shocked at the Prime Time programme last Thursday which brought this matter to light. Our heartfelt sympathies go to the 4 families who lost their children and it amounted to gross cruelty by the HSE not to tell these parents the truth of what happened at the time.
This denial of the truth and the determination of the HSE to conceal this matter and not to contact the families involved proves the most senior people in the HSE who reviewed and covered up these matters are not fit to be in their jobs.
Portlaoise Maternity Unit has one of the highest standards anywhere not just in the country but in the world. The staff are under extreme pressure due to the increasing number of births in the hospital in recent years. The HSE should immediately allocate additional staff to the unit as the embargo does not prevent additional nurses being hired. Everybody who goes in there praises the excellent care and attention they receive and the staff in the unit need to be supported.
We need an independent HIQA to carry out this investigation so that the expectant mothers going in to have their babies can have full confidence that they will receive the best care in the world when they go into Portlaoise Maternity Unit. I look forward to no delay in this matter and not to waste time by giving the HSE a further opportunity to cover their tracks by asking them to carry out an internal review.
The people involved in the cover-up should be asked to step aside while HIQA carry out an independent investigation.