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Patient Safety Authority needed to enforce HIQA’s standards and ensure safe care - Ó Caoláin

8 May, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD


Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has commented on the publication today by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) of their report into HSE oversight of services in the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“At the outset I commend HIQA’s determination to publish this report despite unprecedented pressures from senior HSE management. I am also conscious that at the heart of this report are the tragic outcomes suffered by some families, including those who lost longed-for and much-loved new-borns. We extend our continuing sympathy to these parents.

“This report arises from experiences of poor care and bad outcomes by many patients and families, some identified following the RTÉ Prime Time programme in January 2014. It is clear from the report that over a sustained period the HSE at all levels failed to adequately deal with issues relating to clinical governance and management. That this has affected negatively the quality and safety of services in Portlaoise Hospital is an indictment of the HSE, and leaves a dependent public in an even more conflicted position.

“The report tells us that there were many reasons why the HSE should have maintained very close oversight of services at Portlaoise Hospital, including local and national HSE inquiries into significant service failures. It is evident that while clinical reviews were carried out, findings and recommendations were not acted on or implemented.

“It was also found  that the hospital was operating as a model-3 hospital, one which provides the full range of acute services, but that these services were not resourced nor equipped to an adequate level. It also appears that senior HSE managers were focused mainly on controlling budgets. Money won out over patient safety.

“While today’s report also recommends that “an independent patient advocacy service” be established, I believe that a Patient Safety Authority should be the priority. Such a body would be able to enforce the standards laid out and investigated and reported on by HIQA. It is clear that, at present, while HIQA can make sound recommendations, they often fall on deaf ears. A Patient Safety Authority would be able to ensure implementation of recommendations arising from HIQA reports. Evidently things are not working at present and I believe that such a body could ensure quality and standards are kept as they must across all health delivery settings throughout the state” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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