HSE must respond with no delay - Flanagan

Charlie Flanagan.
Picture Denis Byrne.

Charlie Flanagan. Picture Denis Byrne.

Portlaoise hospital is one of the safest in the country, says Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan, who says management and staff “will co-operate fully” with any investigation.

The Laois/Offaly TD and Fine Gael Party Chairman says he will today (Tuesday) be initiating a Dáil debate on the matter, and is concerned about low staffing levels at the hospital.

“I’m initiating a Dail debate on the matter and I am meeting senior HSE officials and James Reilly to discuss staffing levels,” he told the Leinster Express.

He is urging the Health Service Executive to respond fully to the serious issues raised by last Thursday’s Prime Time Investigates programme on the maternity unit at Portlaoise hospital.

The programme revealed that there were four infant deaths in the space of six years at the maternity unit, with serious delays into investigations and a lack of information given to parents.

“The Prime Time investigation programme has raised the most serious questions in relation to patient care at Portlaoise hospital,” said Dep Flanagan.

He offered his sympathies to the bereaved families.

“As a local TD I wish to sympathise and offer my condolences to the parents and families of all involved in this tragic and traumatic ordeal,” he said, while defending the record of MRH Portlaoise.

“Nothing less than best practice is acceptable to mothers and babies in the Midlands. Patient safety must be at the heart of any health service. There are over 2,000 babies born every year in Portlaoise. The hospital has one of the safest records of any in the country,” he added.

He says staff will co-operate with any inquiry.

“I have spoken directly to Minister for Health James Reilly and I know the management and staff will co-operate fully with any inquiry or investigation. There is a responsibility on the HSE to respond fully and without delay to the serious issues raised in the programme.

I am most anxious that all recommendations are implemented and that best practice is fully observed to ensure that expectant parents can have complete confidence in patient safety and care at the hospital,” he said.




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