Laois Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming has said that patient care must be the first priority for the HSE in Portlaoise Hospital.  The Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) has been conducting a detailed investigation into Portlaoise Hospital following the deaths of babies in the maternity unit.

Deputy Fleming said: “This report needs to be published so that lessons can be learned not just for Portlaoise but for all hospitals on how to improve the care and service for patients.  This report is expected to highlight the lack of adequate resources for Portlaoise hospital as a contributory factor to the problems.  This issue will have to be addressed and the necessary funds made available to ensure the hospital can operate to the standard that everyone is entitled to expect.

“It is shocking to hear reports that HSE top management are trying to block this report for fear it will reflect badly on them.  The lives of people in hospital are more important than the career prospects of senior people in the HSE.  I have said all along that some of the problems in Portlaoise lay at the feet of senior management at national level for their failure to provide proper staffing levels and resources in Portlaoise.

“Any problems that are identified in the HIQA report must be faced up to by the HSE and adequate steps taken to resolve these issues.

“Patient safety, the confidence of the public and the morale of staff in the hospital are essential.  It is up to HSE management at national level to ensure the resources and procedures are put in place to achieve this.”