Reilly to seek HIQA review into babies' deaths in Portlaoise

Tuesday 04 February 2014 23.45
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The RTÉ Investigations Unit revealed that four babies died in similar circumstances at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise
The RTÉ Investigations Unit revealed that four babies died in similar circumstances at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise
Roisin and Mark Molloy have called for an independent inquiry
Roisin and Mark Molloy have called for an independent inquiry

Minister for Health James Reilly has said that he intends to call in the Health Information and Quality Authority to review the circumstances surrounding the deaths of babies at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

Last week, it was revealed by the RTÉ Investigations Unit that four babies had died under similar circumstances at the hospital.

Exactly what is to be reviewed by HIQA will be informed by a report being conducted by the Chief Medical Officer, which is already under way.

HIQA earlier said that as part of its plans for this year it will be conducting a governance review of the hospital on how the governance arrangements assure issues of quality and safety within the hospital.

Meanwhile, one of the families of a baby who died at the hospital met with Oireachtas members at Leinster House today.

They are seeking an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of babies at the hospital.

Mark and Roisin Molloy arrived at Leinster House this afternoon to talk to local TDs and members of the Health Committee in an effort to get cross-party support for a full HIQA inquiry into the maternity unit.

Speaking on her way in, Ms Molloy said the scope of the inquiry needs to include the monitoring systems that were in place in that hospital.

Mr Molloy said they and some of the families affected had also met Mr Reilly on Sunday. They described the meeting as "constructive".

The Molloys have this evening welcomed the Minister for Health's comments that he intends to call in HIQA to review the matters surrounding the hospital.

In the Dáil, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called for an independent inquiry into the four deaths.

During Leaders' Questions, Mr Martin said he did not believe a health authority can investigate itself in situations such as this.

A fully transparent inquiry was required, he said, followed by a wider review of maternity practices in the country.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Chief Medical Officer's report would help establish the scope of a HIQA inquiry.

He said the seriousness of the situation was not underestimated and that Minister Reilly, himself a family doctor, was struck very hard by the revelations.

Both the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil leader expressed sympathy for the families involved and praised their tenacity in bringing the issue to light.