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HIQA responds to joint letter on Lourdes emergency department

13 October, 2011

Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams, along with party colleague Peadar Toibin TD and Dr Ruairi Hanley have received a reply from the Health Information Quality Authority to a joint letter they sent several weeks ago.

The letter asked that HIQA instigate a full, public investigation of the emergency department in Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda and publish the findings.
HIQA reveals in its letter that it is “currently actively engaging with the Health Service Executive in relation to the general quality and safety of services provided at the Louth Meath Hospital Grou” and it states that it “will follow through with the HSE on the specific concerns raised in your letter regarding the emergency department in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital as part of this current process.”

In a reply to HIQA Teachta Adams, Teachta Tóibín and Dr. Hanley welcome the engagement by HIQA with the HSE in relation to the Louth Meath Hospital Group and acknowledged their “commitment to raise our concerns about the situation in the Emergency Department Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital with the HSE, nevertheless this is not a statutory investigation of the kind that we believe is warranted by the circumstances in Drogheda hospital”

The three also point out that Under the Health Act 2007 it states:
9.—(1) The Authority may undertake an investigation as to the
safety, quality and standards of the services described in section
8(1)(b) if the Authority believes on reasonable grounds that—[2007.] [ Health Act 2007. No. 23.]
(a) there is a serious risk to the health or welfare of a person
receiving those services, and
(b) the risk may be the result of any act, failure to act or negligence on the part of—
(i)the Executive, (ii) a service provider,
(iii) the registered provider of a designated centre

Mr. Adams said:

“On Tuesday there were 471 patients on trolleys across the state. One of the highest figures for this year. There were 58 patients on trolleys and chairs in the emergency department in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda. The highest in the state. And the story was the same on Wednesday when there were 42 patients on trolleys. The highest in the state – again.

“We are therefore repeating our request for the Health Information and Quality Authority to order an immediate and urgent statutory investigation into Drogheda hospital.

“If it is still unwilling to do that we have asked it to explain the basis of its decision and for more information in respect of its engagement with the HSE in respect of Louth Meath Hospital Group.

“We believe that the safety, quality and standards in the Emergency Department of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda are such that a statutory investigation is the only reasonable response.”

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