HIQA publishes terms of reference of inquiry following death of Savita Halappanavar

Friday 30 November 2012 23.51
Savita Halappanavar died at Galway University Hospital on 28 October (Pic: Irish Times)
Savita Halappanavar died at Galway University Hospital on 28 October (Pic: Irish Times)

The Health Information and Quality Authority has published the terms of reference for its statutory investigation into the care of patients at University Hospital Galway after the death of Savita Halappanavar.

The inquiry will investigate the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the Health Service Executive to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration.

It will examine the diagnosis and management of patients with sepsis.

The assessment will be made against the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare.

The investigation will also examine the reporting and management of patient safety incidents and the prompt identification and management of clinically deteriorating patients.

If in the course of its investigation HIQA has grounds to believe there are further or other serious risks to patients, it may ask the Authority or the Minister for Health for its terms of reference to be extended.

The report will be published in order to promote safety and quality in health care.

The membership of the investigation team has yet to be announced.

Praveen Halappanavar's solicitor has said his client will not be supporting the HIQA investigation.

Gerard O'Donnell said the inquiry was sought by the HSE and not by the Government and this was also an issue.

He said the recent weeks have been very stressful for Mr Halappanavar, dealing with his bereavement and also having to fight the Government for a proper inquiry.

He has begun the process of taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights seeking a sworn public inquiry.

Under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, people are entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

Mr O'Donnell had set a deadline of yesterday evening for the Government to agree to a public inquiry.

A spokesperson for Health Minister James Reilly has said that he has not ruled out a public inquiry.

He said that the minister respects the right of Mr Halappanavar to take the case to whatever forum he believes he needs to.

Earlier, the HSE said that its "clinical review" into the death of Ms Halappanavar on 28 October is "well advanced".

No completion date has been set for the review, however Minister Reilly has sought an interim report before Christmas.

The investigation, more recently termed a clinical review, was announced on 19 November.