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Families in West affected by audiology misdiagnosis need urgent action rather than HSE spin – Senator Rose Conway-Walsh

7 June, 2018 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has described as the HSE’s treatment of families affected by the audiology scandal in Mayo and Roscommon as "completely unacceptable". She was reacting to details of how up to 50 children have been identified in a HSE review of audiology services as having been misdiagnosed.

The Mayo Senator said:

"Once again we have a scandal within the HSE revealed by investigative journalism. In response the HSE have attempted to portray themselves as being helpful and informative to the families throughout. This is not the case.

"The fact is that, the HSE had a responsibility to ensure that the families affected were the first to be informed of the contents of this long awaited report. The families involved have not even had sight of the report yet. This is completely unacceptable.

"The HSE have to be pressed strongly in relation to release of information and offering full, comprehensive and sincere apologies to those affected by recent scandals.

"I have been working with the family of a 7 year old girl in Mayo who was misdiagnosed and now suffers from hearing loss. The girl in question was discharged from the HSE Audiology Service only later to be diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss. 

"I know from these parents that there was a complete vacuum in communication where the HSE adopted a ‘shut-down and go away’ attitude.

"I am calling on the HSE to make contact with all families affected and make the report available to them immediately. The recommendations and action points contained in the report have to be acted upon urgently and the supports and services, including speech and language therapy, psychological supports and appropriate hearing aids, must be made immediately available.

"It is impossible to undo the distress and anxiety suffered by the families involved but there has to be appropriate redress to mitigate the impact of these delayed diagnoses. Parents now need reassurance that the necessary clinical governance is in place to ensure they can have confidence in the audiology screening programme."

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