The formal terms of reference for a planned investigation into issues that arose from the death of Malak Thawley at Holles Street Hospital in 2016 have been published by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

The investigation is into the safety, quality and standards for the safe conduct of obstetric and gynaecological surgery outside of core working hours and response to major emergencies at the National Maternity Hospital.

The terms of reference make no specific reference to Mrs Thawley or her husband, Alan.

HIQA was directed by Minister for Health Simon Harris to conduct the investigation under the Health Act 2007.

The minister had indicated that he has reasonable grounds to believe there is a particular patient safety risk in relation to the provision of surgical services, outside of core working hours and the readiness of the hospital to effectively respond to major emergencies.

The National Maternity Hospital was recently given leave by the High Court to seek a judicial review of the minister's decision to order the HIQA investigation.

The case is expected to be heard in the High Court in late March.

At the time of the application, the hospital said it would welcome a further external inquiry, but not what is proposed by the minister.

Separately, it recently agreed a settlement in a civil action taken by Mr Thawley in relation to his wife's death.

Holles Street has previously apologised to Mr Thawley and the family and friends of the late Mrs Thawley, who died in its care.

Patient Focus says it supports the planned investigation into issues at Holles Street.

It said that because of the support group's close involvement with women and families who attend Portlaoise, Portiuncula and all other maternity units, it is acutely aware of the dangers that can arise, particularly outside of core working hours.  

Patient Focus said it had been involved with a number of HIQA investigations and that they drive improvements in the care provided to patients, not just in the hospital or unit examined but throughout the entire system.