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HIQA recommendations for Midland Regional Hospital must be implemented – Adams

6 December, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, has challenged An Taoiseach to ensure that recommendations made by HIQA in respect of the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise are implemented in full. 

He said that “while it is good and welcome that maternity services are being provided in a safer way, major issues remain”.  

Teachta Adams said:

“Yesterday, HIQA released its Progress Report into the implementation of recommendations it made in respect of the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise following their investigation in 2014; which was published last year.

“That followed the shocking experiences of mothers who lost babies in the hospital who were failed by our health services. 

“A key finding of last year’s report was that the health service did not act in the interests of patients on the recommendations of previous reports and yesterday’s review makes exactly the same point - that recommendations have yet to be acted on.

“It does note some improvements have been made, but HIQA’s Director of Regulation has said that ‘significant risks remain’ and the review says: ‘The lack of an overall strategy for the direction of the hospital ... raises significant concerns in terms of the sustainability of current service arrangements’.

“While it is good and welcome that maternity services are being provided in a safer way, major issues remain. I am sure the Taoiseach will appreciate this is of major concern to women who rely on the hospital's services. Clearly, they feel less comfortable or safe giving birth in the hospital because has been a reduction in the number of births there.

“The report states there has been little change to the infrastructure of the maternity ward and the Outpatients Department remains in need of refurbishment, but the major issue is staffing levels and the report states the failure to recruit and retain doctors is a risk to patient safety.  

“The hospital also has major problems recruiting and retaining midwives, which is a serious problem across the entire health service.  

“The core issue is that recommendations which had not been acted upon a year age have still not been acted upon, so I would urge the Taoiseach to give a commitment that the ongoing issues in the maternity services at Portlaoise Hospital will be addressed without delay and to ensure that the full implementation of all the recommendations of the original HIQA investigation will be prioritised.” 

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