Reilly 'disturbed' by Portlaoise hospital revelations

Wednesday 05 February 2014 20.20
James Reilly said the way families are treated has to change
James Reilly said the way families are treated has to change

Minister for Health James Reilly has said he was deeply disturbed by the RTÉ Investigations Unit’s revelations about the deaths of babies at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.

Mr Reilly has promised the families affected that they will be kept informed at all times of the findings of the chief medical officer's review into the deaths.

An audit of child deaths will also be carried out by the Department of Health to ensure the information is recorded properly, the minister told the Dáil.

Having met the families during the weekend, the minister said any changes recommended by HIQA following its review will be implemented.

Mr Reilly said the way families were treated has to change and he thanked them for taking the time to talk to him.

Lucinda Creighton, of the Reform Alliance, said information revealed to her privately by one of the families has led her to believe that Ireland is not one of the best places in the world to have a baby, despite what ministers have said.

The deaths of some babies in hospitals have not been reported and the overall national figures are inaccurate as a result, she said.

Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan said an apology is not sufficient and a thorough review of the staffing levels and procedures at the Portlaoise hospital is required.

Billy Timmins, of Reform Allinace, called for a list of all child deaths at hospitals during the past ten years to be published.

In a statement this evening, Mr Reilly said he has asked the Chief Medical Officer to provide him with a report on the issue as quickly as possible.

"I have assured the families that the process will be transparent, that they will be involved and will have the opportunity to see the report in advance of its release.

"The findings of the CMO's report will inform the terms of reference of any subsequent HIQA review into this issue", he said.