Ignoring HIQA reports risks further tragedies - Adams
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams has criticised Taoiseach Enda Kenny for failing to explain why the HSE, the Department of Health and the Minister for Health have failed to act on HIQA recommendations.
The Sinn Féin Leader raised the issue directly in the Dáil with Mr Kenny today. This followed the tragic death yesterday of a baby at Cavan General Hospital which Mr Adams said naturally raised further concerns about the safety of maternity services in the State coming as it did directly after last week’s publication of a HIQA Report on safety of services in the Midland Regional Hospital.
Gerry Adams said:
“The tragic death yesterday of a baby at Cavan General Hospital naturally raises further concerns about maternity services in the State. I don’t want to make any judgements on this tragedy because I don’t know what happened. I do extend my sympathy to the parents and family of this child and to others who have suffered such dreadful loss.
“This sad news comes directly after last week’s publication of a HIQA Report on safety of services in the Midland Regional Hospital. HIQA found that the hospital was not governed, resourced or equipped to provide 24-hour, seven-day, acute surgery, accident, emergency and maternity services. The National Incident Management Team has also said that it is aware of numerous sad and serious cases at all HSE sites.
“That HIQA report made the point that had the findings of previous HIQA recommendations been implemented, the risks to patients would have been “vastly reduced”. This is not the first time HIQA has made this point. In fact I have raised these concerns with the Taoiseach many times without any satisfactory response.
“The charge from HIQA and from NIMT could not be more serious. The harsh reality is that HIQA recommendations are being continually ignored by the HSE and the Department of Health.
“It is the explicit responsibility of the Department of Health and the Minister for Health to implement recommendations made by regulatory bodies such as HIQA.
“The Government cannot say it did not know. HIQA has said that the problems in Portlaoise are to be found in other hospitals. These include Cavan General Hospital. But today, the Taoiseach once again failed to explain why the HSE, the Department of Health and the Minister for Health have failed to act on HIQA recommendations.
“Last May, Health Minister James Reilly said he wanted a HIQA investigation into Cavan in addition to the one at Portlaoise. But it appears he never formally ordered such an investigation and no review was carried out.
“Meanwhile Government austerity policies are decimating the Health Services and putting incredible pressure on hospital services. A case in point is the dangerously low level of midwives available in this State. An extra 600 midwives are now needed.
“Women need assurances that their pregnancies will be safe. How many more damning HIQA reports into our health services will be ignored? What is the point of HIQA if its recommendations are not implemented?”