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Maternity report by RTÉ ‘shocking’- Ó Caoláin

12 June, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that he was extremely concerned and shocked at revelations that 67 incidents in which the death or permanent incapacitation of women and babies in maternity hospitals occurred, as shown on RTÉ Prime Time last night.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“The personal stories shown were very moving and remind us of the human side of damning hospital reports. I was particularly concerned by the callous treatment that some grieving and confused families were subjected to. Little information was given, apologies were avoided and the families left in the dark.

“We also saw the heart-breaking story of John and Joan Mulcair as told by John. Their baby had been measured to show signs of low levels of oxygen, but these signs did not lead to any major action. The program also highlighted how there are significant differences in how hospitals report to the coroner, there needs to be uniform practice in place across all hospitals. 

“We have previously seen how figures from the State Claims Agency have highlighted problem areas in our health services. I ask the Minister to task the HSE with further analysing those figures to identify the areas which need urgent and comprehensive address. Will the Minister also tell us when the proposed open disclosure legislation will be introduced?

 “While the vast majority of staff complete their work to a high standard, this programme has highlighted how there have been issues with a minority of staff. This cannot be removed from the fact that staffing levels in Maternity services are desperately low across the board. We have seen calls by the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services for 600-plus additional midwives to be recruited by the HSE, and we also know that we have among the lowest numbers of obstetricians across the European Union.

“Recruitment of the required skillsets across all 19 maternity units needs to be undertaken immediately.”

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