Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said his department was informed in August that there were issues in relation to unauthorised medical devices being used as part of spinal surgeries in Temple Street Hospital.
Speaking in New York, where he is attending a number of events including a meeting with the World Health Organisation, Mr Donnelly said there had been engagement with Children’s Health Ireland – the group which runs paediatric hospitals in Dublin – to ensure that additional protocols were put in place to ensure that only authorised medical equipment was used in the future.
Mr Donnelly said the Department of Health had received essentially a summary report.
He said he had initially been informed that the full reports commissioned earlier into the issue could not be published.
However, he said he was not satisfied with the response that he had been given.
Mr Donnelly has come under pressure from the Opposition to return to Ireland immediately to deal with the spinal surgery controversy. However, he said he was dealing with the issue on a regular basis from New York.
The Minister described the controversy surrounding the treatment of 19 children at Temple Street, including one 10-year-old girl who died, as “absolutely heartbreaking and devastating”.
“As any parent, as the father of three children myself, it is unspeakable. It should never have happened,” he said.
“There is a full review now, in terms of a clinical review, in terms of what exactly did happen.
“I want an explanation. I want a detailed explanation and that is what the new review is going to ascertain and I can assure you that the [Health Service Executive] chief clinical officer, who I have been talking to this morning, also wants a very detailed understanding of this as well.”
Mr Donnelly said he would be happy to meet the families of those affected as well as advocacy groups.