Team appointed to investigate deaths of Portlaoise babies

Six-person international group to carry out inquiry with Hiqa

Minister for Health James Reilly: has approved the  team of six experts to carry out the investigation. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Minister for Health James Reilly: has approved the team of six experts to carry out the investigation. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Tue, Apr 29, 2014, 09:57


Three British experts and a retired consultant from Northern Ireland are among the six-person group appointed to investigate the safety of maternity services at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

Minister for Health James Reilly yesterday approved the appointment of the team which will carry out the investigation, which follows the deaths of a number of babies at the hospital’s maternity unit over the past six years.

The investigation, to be carried out by the team with the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), will look at how governance arrangements provided by the Health Service Executive are affecting the care of patients.

Incidents
Specifically, it will examine the extent of serious adverse incidents at the hospital, the HSE’s response to such incidents and whether lessons are being learned from them.

Those appointed include obstetricians Prof James Walker, a consultant working in Leeds, and Dr Meabh Ni Bhuinneain, who works at Mayo General Hospital. Governance expert Martin Turner is a former chief executive of the health service in Adelaide, South Australia, while Mai Buckley is a consultant midwife at the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust in London.

The other members of the group are retired consultant anaesthetist Patrick Loughran, who worked for almost 25 years at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, and patient advocate Margaret Murphy.

Hiqa would not say how long the investigation would take to complete, but the team is expected to finalise its work later this year.