Eddie Kelly, Carlingford, Co Lough, who received a new heart in an operation at the Mater hospital, Dublin,  in  September 1985, leaving the hospital with his wife Eileen and the nurses in charge of the Intensive care unit (from left): Sr Ursula Bullen, Cork, Sr Mary Bridget and Sr Pat O’Leary. Photograph: Pat Langan/The Irish Times

Legislation to encourage organ donation may be introduced before April 2016

Chairman Justice Alan Mahon has ruled all documents other than specified “relevant material” be returned to the person who provided them or their lawyers. Photograph: The Irish Times

Internal ruling that private papers be given back or destroyed before inquiry is wound up

Tony O’Brien said the HSE bid for €22 million to fund initiatives,  but got nothing. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Clinicians made a special appeal for funding to address ‘serious inadequacies’ at the hospital

 Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, leaving the Dáil following the  Oireachtas health committee. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Health body accused of trying to suppress programme on Portlaoise hospital deaths

Tony O’Brien’s LinkedIn page said he was “director, clinical strategy and programmes, HSE from May 2011 to March 2012”. It was then changed to say that he was as director of clinical strategy and programmes from May 2011 to September 2011, not March 2012 (right).

HSE director general’s LinkedIn profile changed after HSE complaint about article

From left: Ollie Kelly, Amy Delahunt, Roisin Molloy and Mark Molloy appearing at the Oireachtas health committee.

Families who lost children told to ‘go away and have more children’, health committee hears

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar during a visit to Portlaoise hospital last week. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Reactions to Hiqa report make it hard to be confident of its implementation

Former Coombe master Dr Chris Fitzpatrick confirmed a report was sent to the HSE and the Department of Health ‘at the highest level’ under the auspices of the HSE’s clinical programme in obstetrics. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Call for resources to address ‘serious inadequacies’ unheeded by Government officials

Prof Brian MacCraith, president of DCU: a group chaired by him has made a series of recommendations for improving medical training and working conditions which are  being implemented. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh / The Irish Times

HSE culture must change to encourage doctors and nurses to return, says study

Variations in infant death rates within acceptable limits, says NPEC

The study said 1,148 deaths of adults in the Republic aged over 30 years were attributable to air-pollution particles in 2011. Photograph: Getty Images

Study - reduction of 40% emissions via fuel-burning could save 500 lives annually

Cavan General Hospital: despite four infant deaths in 30 months and concerns raised about the slow progress of investigations, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said a review of all deaths at the unit was not warranted ‘at this stage’. Photograph: Colm Connaughton

Leo Varadkar says review of all fatalities at Cavan maternity unit not yet warranted

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn has called on Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to establish an oversight committee in the Department of Health to ensure the recommendations in the report on Portlaoise hospital are implemented. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Political commitment vital for improvements to health system safety, says Hiqa chief

Former minister for health James Reilly said last May he would instruct the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) to review maternity services at the hospital. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Four babies have died in 30 months at the maternity unit due to be reviewed by Hiqa

The HSE failed to take decisive action on defining the role of the hospital and to resource it sufficiently. For example, up to last July, the 24/7 emergency department had an emergency medicine consultant on site for only six hours, four days a week. Photograph: Getty Images

Report calls for HSE action plan, with one person accountable for implementation

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: Promised the independent patient advocacy service recommended in the report by the State’s health watchdog would be fully independent of the Health Service Executive. Photograph: Collins

Minister pledges strategy for maternity services in wake of infant-fatalities report

HSE director general Tony O’Brien promise to take “whatever action is appropriate” once he has had the chance to read the report in full. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

HSE chief’s ‘swift and decisive action’ mantra unravels on closer examination of the facts

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn speaking at the publication of the Patient Safety Investigation Report into services at Portlaoise. Behind him are Prof James Walker and Mary Dunnion. Photograph: Dave Meehan.

Problem is lack of overall maternity strategy in Ireland, says obstetrician James Walker

Parents: Mark and Róisín Molloy, whose baby Mark died at Portlaoise hospital in 2012. Photograph: Eric Luke

A series of newborn deaths at Midland Regional Hospital, in Portlaoise, was exposed only through the grim determination of five be(...)

Hiqa chief executive Phelim Quinn said the report shone a light on what happened in the hospital and described it as a “seminal moment” in the history of the health service. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

Investigator says bereaved mothers reprimaned by hospital staff for crying

Delegates vote at the annual conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in Trim, Co Meath. Photograph: Lisa Cawley

INMO president Claire Mahon says nurses expect clear timetable for full pay restoration

Tony O’Brien, director general of HSE: Hiqa has stuck by the vast majority of criticisms it made of the HSE in an earlier draft of the report, despite a threat by  O’Brien to injunct publication if changes were not made. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Management of HSE and hospital failed to act on known patient safety risks, says report

Nurses expect a clear timetable for full pay restoration, INMO president Claire Mahon told the union’s annual conference.

Conference hears calls for shorter working hours and reinstatement of pay cuts

Speakers at INMO conference criticise health regulator following series of critical reports

Irish Nurses and Midwives general secretary Liam Doran said nurses are being left isolated and alone to appear before a professional body. Photograph: Eric Luke / THE IRISH TIMES

INMO conference also hears watchdog commit to further review of maternity care

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has said that the  number of patients waiting for an outpatient appointment has risen to a new record of more than 412,000. File photograph: Thinkstock

National Treatment Purchase Fund says number has risen to more than 412,000

Liam Doran, general secretary at the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: Mr Doran said the extra €74m from the Government to help the trolley crisis is welcome but is not enough to solve the problem. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Concern about continuing trolley crisis expressed at start of INMO conference

While some women take supplements once they are pregnant, not enough are doing so. Also, by then it may be too late, as the baby’s neural tube develops in the first month after conception. Photograph: Thinkstock

The incidence of birth defects is on the rise because Irish women are not getting enough folic acid. Is it time for Ireland to ado(...)

The team carrying out the review at Wexford General Hospital believes that, in some cases, cancers were missed when the patient underwent the original colonoscopy. Photograph: Joe St Leger/The Irish Times

Patient follow-ups in wake of concerns over quality of colonoscopy analyses in hospital

Dr Jacinta Wright: noted authority on the 19th-century French writer George Sand and an enthusiastic Francophile

An Appreciation

Members of the Coombe board repeatedly expressed concerns over the Health Service Executive’s proposal to take responsibility for services in Portlaoise, where five babies have died in controversial circumstances in recent years.  Photograph: Getty Images/Blend Images

Funding, ‘reputational risk’, staffing and resources were fears for Coombe hospital

There are five radiologists per 100,000 population in Ireland compared with 7.8 in Germany and 11.3 in France, says Royal College of Surgeons.

RCSI faculty says more consultants needed after X-ray errors

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: said further reviews would be necessary in a number of other hospitals where the locums worked. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Radiologist is one of three whose work is being re-examined in unlinked reviews

At Wexford General Hospital a review of colonoscopies carried out in the hospital, announced in February as part of the BowelScreen programme, has been doubled. Photograph: Joe St Leger

Call-back of patients following concerns at how locums read colonoscopy scans widens

Some 63 per cent of private patients delayed going to see a GP due to cost, while 68 per cent delayed seeing a consultant for this reason. Photograph: Getty Images

Public patients face long delays for consultant visits, Adelaide Hospital Society and TCD find

Trainees who reported working longer hours and bullying were more likely to have poorer health and wellbeing

Medical Council survey: Significant minority of trainees struggling with quality of life

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny: ‘There are clearly changes that are needed in the structures of the way things have been done.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Mistakes found in work of locum radiologists employed by HSE

An artist’s impression of the exterior of the proposed new  National Children’s Hospital at St James’s in Dublin

Oval-shaped building features a ‘therapeutic garden’ on roof

The three locums worked at Kerry General Hospital, Cavan Monaghan Hospital and Bantry General Hospital. Photograph: Getty Images.

Mistakes found in work of three locum radiologists employed by Health Service Executive

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. “I won’t be allowing my own background or my sexual orientation to dictate the decisions I make,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan in January. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health has said any decision on whether to lift outright ban on gay men donating blood will be made on scientific gro(...)

What galls colleagues who worked with some of the locums is that they are costing far more than a directly employed staff member would. Photograph: Thinkstock

Radiology review indicates hazards of hospitals relying on locums to plug staff gaps

Tony O’Brien of the HSE: claims draft report is inaccurate and unbalanced.

Publication delayed because of objections from HSE, which threatened legal action

Gail O’Rorke: unaware that helping someone die was  illegal, she brought suspicion on her head by telling a travel agent about the real purpose of her and Bernadette Forde’s visit to Switzerland.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ireland’s laws lag behind much of Europe on this delicate issue as O’Rorke case showed

GPs are independent contractors and it will be up to each doctor individually to decide whether to sign up for or opt out of the new arrangement. Photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire

New contract requires family doctors to carry out wellness checks on young children

Paul Cullen goes uphill in the alps. Photograph: Paul Synnott

Breathing woes, floating and gulping water may all prove to be a stroke too far

File photograph of Prof Aidan Halligan. The noted UK-based Irish doctor has died at the age of 57. File photograph: NHS

UK-based Irish doctor turned down the chance to become first head of the HSE

Dr David Hickey, who founded the programme, but retired last December said “you can’t just flick a switch and call it a transplant centre. Who is going to do the work?” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Programme founder Dr David Hickey: Hospital ‘had no idea what they’re talking about’

Dr David Hickey: “I hate to see a pancreas programme that has been run well . . . being squashed because no one gives a damn.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Ex-transplant chief David Hickey rails against ‘callous’ approach towards patients

Matthew McGrath with his parents, Cathy and Alan and sister, Nicola, after the announcement of the settlement of their High Court action. Photograph: Courts Collins

Lawyers and doctors take opposing sides in blame game over case that ran for 11 years

Studies of women attending the Coombe women’s hospital have shown that as few as 25% have taken folic acid before conception. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Call for public information campaign after study reveals 27% rise in neural tube defects

Dr Gerard Crotty: ‘Patients are not getting the quality and timeliness of care they require, especially when waiting on trolleys or for appointments.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Gerard Crotty, head of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association, says conditions and trust are also key issues

Increases in funding will be needed to cater for the increase in deaths from cancer, dementia and neurodegenerative diseases according to new research. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Rapidly-ageing Irish population behind trend, new study suggests

For boys, the main issues are anxiety, anger and family problems.  Girls are more likely to experience anxiety, thoughts of hurting themselves, low self-esteem and feelings of sadness or loss

Research at mental health service reveals feelings of anger, sadness and loss

The National Ambulance Service Representative Association says its women members fear they may be discriminated against as a result of the failure of management to identify opportunities for redeployment during pregnancy. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Staff association says ambulance staff unable to get sick benefits for workplace injuries

The Health Information and Quality Authority published hygiene reports on 11 different Irish hospitals on Friday. Photograph: Getty Images

Hiqa issued formal warning to Midland Regional Hospital over practices, says report

The Psychiatric Nurses’ Association has become the latest union to reject calls by Government ministers for increased productivity in return for pay increases.

Union says psychiatric nurses want ‘unfettered’ return of pay lost during recession

Seriously mentally ill patients should be re-admitted into care if they do not attend for treatment or take their medication, the annual conference of psychiatric nurses has been told

PNA conference warned of safety risk from mentally ill patients not taking medication

Sports stars like Stepanie Roche and  the Irish women’s rugby team are promoting women’s participation in sport. Photograph: Inpho

Only 12% of 10- to 18-year-olds get recommended hour of physical activity each day

Prof Niall Moyna of DCU is optimistic about the future as it is more acceptable for girls to continue in sport and there is an increase in team sport options. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Countrywide schools challenge shows that boys’ fitness improves over same age period

Marie O’Connor of Survivors of Symphysiotomy: claims one woman was asked for receipts for incontinence pads  bought in the 1950s. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Judge cites lack of evidence but support group says ‘impossible’ levels of proof sought

Doctors say incentives work better than Australian plan for penalties

Dr Susan O’Reilly,  chief executive of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, has given assurances that all five departments at Portlaoise hospital will remain open. Photograph: Frank Miller

All five departments to remain open despite issues identified in two of them

New measures to speed up the processing of medical negligence cases and cut legal costs will be introduced by the end of the year, according to the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar

Legislation to reduce legal costs in medical cases to be passed by the end of the year

GP members of the Irish Medical Organisation are meeting in Kilkenny today to discuss the Government’s long- planned scheme for free GP care for children aged under six, due to come into effect in July.

IMO members discuss deal in Kilkenny, Leo Varadkar to make presentation

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said Minister for Health Leo Varadkar was prioritising his personal PR strategy by pushing out target times for waiting lists and presenting it as a breakthrough.

Minister for Health ‘presiding over the complete disintegration of the system’

The Irish Medical Organisation wants commitments on ring-fenced funding and an adherence to safety standards in the health service that are equal to or greater than those imposed by the Health Information and Quality Authority.  File photograph: Lex Van Lieshout/AFP/Getty Images

Doctors launch concerted drive to put health issues centre stage in election campaign

Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) past president Asam Ishtiaq told the conference that doctors are being denied their constitutional presumption of innocence at disciplinary hearings. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times/File photo

Irish Medical Organisation conference hears doctors ‘guilty unless proven otherwise’

The waiting list for outpatient appointments has been increasing since the beginning of 2014 and by the end of last month it had reached 405,501, according to the National Purchase Treatment Fund. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Almost half on list have been waiting for appointment for more than six months

Before chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan published his report into the baby deaths at Portlaoise in February 2014, there was no evidence to show that at a national level, meaningful oversight of the hospital was maintained.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Hiqa draft report finds no evidence to confirm ‘worthwhile discussions’ took place

In an email to a regional HSE official, local TD Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan  describes every department in the hospital as “in crisis”. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mothers who lost babies after delivery were referred for bereavement therapy

The Coombe maternity hospital overspent by €1.1million in January. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Hospitals told they have to cut budgets by an average of 2%, as more than 3,500 patients spend more than 24 hours in emergency de(...)

Significant concerns over the quality and safety of maternity services at Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise existed as far back as 2007 but were not acted upon, according to the draft report from the State’s health watchdog. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Draft Hiqa report says regional HSE staff failed to act and declined external review

The draft report points to significant high-level concerns over the quality and safety of the maternity unit as far back as 2007. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Hiqa concern that officials did not assess hospital after report about babies dying

HSE director general Tony O’Brien contends the draft report is unfair, lacks specific details, is inaccurate in some respects and fails to give reasons for its findings. Photograph: The Irish Times

Health watchdog report indicates an inert, indecisive and sluggish Health Service Executive

Former minister for health James Reilly told an Oireachtas health committee it was not Government policy to change Portlaoise to a model-2 hospital because it had maternity and paediatric units. Photograph: The Irish Times

Executive focused on budgets and failed to maintain hospital oversight, says watchdog

Patient safety risks at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, were present in general acute services and the maternity unit, says Hiqa. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Executive and Midland Regional Hospital failed to act decisively, says watchdog

The Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), which is responsible for GP training schemes, admitted a mistake was made in the way in which marks were allocated to applicants. Photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire

Executive funds 12 more positions after error by Irish College of General Practitioners

The Rotunda Hospital. Photograph: David Sleator

Co-locating with Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown is forecast outcome of review

Sigrid Rausing In Dublin this week.  “If you fund human rights you have to take a neutral, disinterested view of politics, and you have to recognise that human rights abuses occur on the left and the right.” Photograph: Eric Luke

The Swedish billionaire has ploughed her Tetra Pak inheritance into charitable trusts which dispense €31m a year to human rights (...)

 An unpublished Department of Health review lists a number of options for improving the funding of the Fair Deal scheme, including increasing the State contribution or making those in nursing homes pay more

Government considers raising contribution under Fair Deal nursing home scheme

The present measures might not have been needed if Government had not cut the budget for Fair Deal by €30 million last year

Analysis: Fund of €74m a solid start, but success will necessitate ongoing financing

Malaria is caused by a parasite borne by mosquitoes. Only the United Kingdom and Belgium have higher rates of imported malaria among EU states than the Republic of Ireland. File photograph: Getty Images

Incidence of disease up 12% in year and now at worst level since 2010, data shows

The taskforce report is expected to recommend a number of measures to ease hospital overcrowding, including more weekend discharges and greater access to clinical decision-making and diagnostics from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Other recommendations will include the discharge of patients before 11am, seeing patients in emergency units within an hour, and a reduction in overnight stays. File photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA

Bulk of additional funding will go to Fair Deal nursing home support scheme

The new hospital is expected to be ready in 2017, but services will continue at the existing level while the development is ongoing. Photograph: The Irish Times

Green light for construction of 120-bed facility on the site of NRH in Dún Laoghaire

Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway, says the review team is independent, and will be supported by investigatory staff drawn from other HSE hospital groups. Joe O’Shaughnessy

Investigation into maternity services at Co Galway hospital to take at least five months

Ireland used to have more widespread voluntary folic acid fortification than other European countries and the rate of birth defects fell up to 2008. However, it started rising again in 2009

Folic acid taken before and during pregnancy prevents most forms of neural tube defects such as spina bifida

Department chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan had recommended in his report that the Portlaoise unit be placed under the governance of the Coombe in order to provide quality and safe healthcare. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times.

Agreement due to be signed at HSE headquarters in Dublin on Thursday morning

“Heart disease remains a leading cause of death and disability in both parts of Ireland and high by European standards,” said Dr Roger O’Sullivan, director of the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland, which funded the study.

Rates of smoking and obesity in over-50s higher in Republic than in Northern Ireland

The Coombe hospital in Dublin. It balked at taking on the Portlaoise task without extra staff and resources

Report recommended maternity unit be placed under governance of Coombe Women’s Hospital to provide quality and safe care

Tony O Brien, director general of the  HSE, said he didn’t dispute the serious problems at the hospital. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Watchdog report into hospital could trigger legal action, warns Health Service Executive

Dr Wilfrid Hoover accused the hospital of “dilly-dallying” in carrying out an internal review into the death of Co Westmeath woman Ellen Devery-Allen in December 2013. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Faulty record-keeping by doctors noted but death not attributed to treatment by medics

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he wants to see the Portlaoise hospital report published but added two organisations using public money should not be in “court situations”.

Taoiseach says agencies using public money should not be in ‘court situations’

HSE director general Tony O’Brien: described the women’s accounts as “unverified” and said the draft Hiqa report lacks accuracy and balance. Photograph: Alan Betson

Criticism of medical staff in care of 83 women but HSE challenges report

Over 30 per cent of mothers giving birth were single and 27 per cent were born outside Ireland, according to the HSE’s National Perinatal Statistic Report for 2013. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Past decade saw 24% rise in number of twin births, HSE report finds

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said it is not appropriate for government agencies to sue each other and that he would expect two bodies to sort out any dispute they had without resorting to the law.

Minister for Health responds to HSE threat to take legal action over Hiqa baby deaths report

Former minister for health James Reilly commissioned the report over a year ago. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Hiqa critical of midlands hospital where five babies died in controversial circumstances

Coloured mammogram of a woman’s breast that contains a cancerous tumour. The new test can help determine the most effective type of treatment for patients.

Over half of participants in study changed to hormone therapy, saving HSE €800,000

In five cases involving programme refugees since 2011, the HSE when asked to provide treatment in the Irish health service did not do so, it has confirmed.

Five programme refugees diverted after HSE says medical treatment will not be available

St Vincent’s hospital: Overcrowding at one of Dublin’s main teaching hospitals has almost doubled overnight after 40 “hidden beds” were included in the figures for the first time. Photograph: Dave Meehan

74 patients recorded as being on trolleys after 40 ‘hidden beds’ included in figures

Director of Mental Health Reform Shari McDaid: Case raised questions about access to investigations for patients in the centres involved Photograph: Alan Betson

Concern expressed at failure to act quicker in instance of nurse struck off for sexual conduct

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