Patient Focus is working with a number of the women and families involved in the “very sad and worrying situation” outlined by the RTE investigation programme on the maternity unit at Portlaoise Hospital.
The group says it is alarming that the recommendations of several reviews seem to have been ignored at the unit appearing to lead to the unnecessary deaths of babies.
“Hospital management must be held accountable for not ensuring that these recommendations were acted upon speedily. Health professional too have responsibility for the quality of care they provide to women and babies,” said a statement.
Patient Focus says it has a number of concerns that warrant immediate action by the HSE and hospital management in particular:
• HSE to set up a helpline for women due to give birth in the near future at the hospital. The women and their families will require details regarding the safeguards and changes, if any, put in place at the unit as a result of the recommendations of reviews and inquests into baby deaths.
• HSE to set up a helpline for women and families with concerns about their own care or the care of their baby at the hospital
• HSE to contact anyone who may have been involved in an adverse event or review or investigation at the unit in the past
• HSE to fund a second opinion for all those so concerned
• HSE to fund a counselling service for the women and families concerned
• Establish a wide ranging independent investigation into the maternity care provided at the unit going back 10 years
• Provide access to independent advocacy for the women and families.
Patient Focus said it also calls on the Minister for Health and Children James Reilly to consider as a matter of urgency the need for a wider review in relation to the care provided to mothers and babies in other maternity units.
RTÉ’s Prime Time is to report on an investigation into the hospital tonight, Thursday January 30. The HSE said it would not comment until after the programme is boadcast.
Patient Focus can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org