Clinical director of Portlaoise hospital apologises

‘Parents were not treated appropriately at the time’


The clinical director of the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise has apologised unreservedly for failures in maternity services at the hospital.

Dr John Connaughton said: “the staff at Portlaoise hospital apologise unreservedly to all families who experienced care below the expected standard at the maternity services in Portlaoise hospital over the past number of years”.

“For those families who suffered loss as a result of care failings, the hospital expresses its deepest regret and sympathy,” he said. The failure to communicate with the families when they most needed honesty, compassion and kindness was unacceptable.

Timely investigations
It was equally unacceptable that investigations were not carried out in a timely manner.

“At the time the babies died, investigations commenced after that. Those investigations did not proceed at the rate that they should have. That is unacceptable and that cannot happen again.”

He said Portlaoise hospital maternity services looked forward to working with the new management team “to ensure the failings highlighted in the chief medical officer’s report cannot happen again”.

New structure
He was joined by HSE regional director of performance and integration for Dublin Mid-Leinster, David Walsh, who outlined the new structure being put in place at the hospital.

Asked about the hospital’s failings in terms of communicating with the grieving families, Mr Walsh said that “at that time the processes in the hospital were not adequate and didn’t reach the standard that we now know it clearly should have reached and for that reason they weren’t communicated with”.

He echoed Dr Connaughton’s apology and said it was quite clear that parents were not treated appropriately at the time.

In relation to whether staff at the hospital might be disciplined, Mr Walsh said the report would be very closely considered and “every aspect of performance will be considered”.