The conduct of management in relation to baby deaths at Portlaoise Hospital and senior executives in the Health Service Executive (HSE) at local, regional and national levels is to be investigated by officials from the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain.
The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar confirmed that the experts from the NHS were being drafted in to carry out the investigation as people no longer trusted the HSE.
“For variable reasons, people don’t trust the HSE so rather than having them carry out the process internally, someone else has been brought in to do that,” he said
The Minister said the investigation, which has been commission by the HSE Director General, Tony O’Brien would take 12 weeks to complete.
The Health Minister said it was the view of a lot of people that the conduct of senior personnel needed to be looked at.
“It was the strong view of a lot of people that we needed to look at the conduct of managers and senior executives locally, regionally and nationally that were criticised in the Hiqa report.
“If there is a complaint against a doctor it is referred to the medical council, and a nurse to the nursing board as has happened in Portlaoise, but it was my view that we needed a disciplinary process involving management and senior executives as well,” he said.
The Minister said that another HSE review was required because the Hiqa report, which was published early last month, did not make any findings against individuals.
The Hiqa report claimed that the HSE did not take enough action at a national, regional or local level to address issues at Portlaoise hospital.
The report claims that Regional HSE management, did not “respond appropriately to the deteriorating situation at the hospital.”
Some senior HSE managers were unaware of safety concerns at the hospital and were not informed of the sentinel cases identified on the Prime Time programme in a timely fashion.
The Hiqa investigation also found no evidence that key senior HSE managers had visited the hospital in the aftermath of the Prime Time programme to assess the situation in the maternity services.