HSE to 'fully implement' recommendations in Halappanavar report

Friday 14 June 2013 14.06
Dr Philip Crowley has urged that recommendations around the management of sepsis  be implemented in aftermath of death of Savita Halappanavar
Dr Philip Crowley has urged that recommendations around the management of sepsis be implemented in aftermath of death of Savita Halappanavar

The Health Service Executive has promised to fully implement all the recommendations in the clinical review into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

HSE National Director of Quality and Patient Safety Dr Philip Crowley said the review's recommendations, particularly around the management of sepsis, need to be implemented.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said structures were already in place to ensure the recommendations would be acted upon.

Mrs Halappanavar died at University Hospital Galway on 28 October last year.

Dr Crowley also rejected suggestions that staffing numbers in the hospital were inadequate to provide medical care for Mrs Halappanavar.

He said staffing levels were "normal, safe and adequate" and that "no consultant obstetrician was on leave at the time".

Dr Crowley said that what happened in the case of Mrs Halappanavar was a "rare occurrence" and as a result, staff did not realise what they were dealing with.

He said the issue of sepsis was becoming "far more important and critical" and so there was a bigger need to train medical staff in the training and management of it.

On the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill, Dr Crowley said that doctors still needed "clear clinical guidance" no matter what law is eventually passed by the Oireachtas.

Meanwhile, a patient advocacy group has praised the thoroughness and fairness of the HSE report.

Speaking on the same programme, National Co-ordinator of Patient Focus Sheila O'Connor said she was pleased with the quality of the review and the speed in which it was undertaken.

However, she said the "quality and promptness" of the report was unique, as most patients or families who have had "bad things happen in hospitals" often do not know that these things should not have happened.

Ms O'Connor said patients or their families frequently pursue reviews and investigations when they feel mistakes have been made in medical treatment, but unlike the report into Mrs Halappanavar's death, these reviews often take several years.

Ms O'Connor said the healthcare system needed a "culture change" for mistakes in medical treatment to be highlighted on a more frequent basis.