Top HSE management in 'ivory towers' need to be held accountable

Roisín Molloy says Portlaoise hospital improvements resulted from campaign for truth

Top HSE management in 'ivory towers' need to be held accountable
By Conor Ganly news@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

The mother of a baby who died at Portlaoise hospital belives the good doctors and nurses who work there should be cut some slack by the public.

Kilcavan native Roisín Molloy also said that the improvments that have taken place at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise are the result of herself and her husband Mark's fight for the truth about what happened during the care of their son when he died there in 2012.

However, both Roisín and her husband Mark spoke last week about their frustration that nobody has been held to account over the death of Mark. They also believe that many questions remain unanswered following the outcome of a Medical Council inquiry into a doctor who was involved in managing her labour.

Dr A, an obstetric and gynaecological doctor, was cleared of five of seven charges against him. The doctor no longer works in Portlaoise but is still working in Ireland.

Speaking to the Leinster Express last week Ms Molloy said the outcome reveals huge gaps.

“It exposes very publicly that there is no legislation for accountability in our health service. There is no process to hold anyone to acccount,” she said.

However, she said the experience she and others, such as Vicky Phelan have gone through, is like climate change.

“The problem for the HSE is that it is a bit like climate change, the storms are coming much more frequently. I think the public is getting sick of them. The same mistakes are being made and the same rhetoric comes out - 'we are so sorry, lessons will be learned'. We don't want that anymore, we just want people to do their jobs,” she said.

She urged the politicians who are responsible for holding the HSE's managment to account to focus their concern on patients and good staff.

“I think it is time to cut us patients who were injured and damaged some slack, and cut front line staff some slack and instead start focusing on the managment and the absolute mess they have made of Portlaoise hospital,” she said.

Ms Molloy said herself and her husband do feel feel sympathy for 'the good nurses and doctors'.

“I know nurses that are getting a dreadful time in there who are getting the brunt of it. I think the nurses should be supported. It is a shame that the management do not support them and provide them with proper equipment and they are not getting proper supervision and staffing numbers.

“They are spending their money on cover-ups and investigations.

“We never blamed the public or doctors or don't expect the public to do it,” she said.

She claimed it suits HSE's top management to see problems with patients in dispute with under pressure staff.

“At the top you've got top management looking down at the squabbling at the pain and the hardship. And, they are sitting in their ivory towers making the decisions. They are just looking on. They need to be held accountable,” she said.

“It is hard to believe that so many people failed to provided appropriate care and still not one person can be held to account for that. I still cannot get my head around that,” she said.

She said the sad thing is that there is no obligation on staff to tell patients that something has gone wrong during their care. She said all rests with the 'integrity' of a hospital.

She said it is a shock to people that the hospitals do not have to tell the truth.

“For me going public was the only way and, even at that, we are still learning six years on. No other case within the HSE has been investigated more than ours.

“The HSE as an organisation does not have integrity and does not put patients first,”she said.

She said she has not seen evidence of the HSE telling staff to tell the truth. She said there is no legal backing for an obligation of open disclosure.

Ms Molloy realises that some local people “want them to stop talking” because of the adverse attention the issues have attracted to the hospital. However, she believes the truth will benefit.

“If they would only see what we are doing is going to benefit them in the long run and they have a better service there because of what we have done,” she said.

She says people who have a good experience were 'one of the lucky ones.

Mark Molloy told RTÉ their son is not forgotten.

“You think of him so often. The local team are training in Under 6s and Under 8s and he should be down there.

“Last September, the first day of school was very upsetting for us when we saw all the boys and girls going in that would have been his classmates. We are reminded every day when we look back at pictures of our other boys when they were aged five and six and all the memories we have of them," he said.