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HSE hit back amid Portlaoise hospital report claims

NewsBy Kevin Palmer
Baby deaths at Portlaoise Hospital under investigation
Baby deaths at Portlaoise Hospital under investigation

The HSE have hit back at claims that they approached the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) with "menacing intent", as they compiled their report into the tragic events at Portlaoise hospital.

The publication of a report by the HIQA into baby deaths at the hospital has been delayed due to legal issues, but the statements this evening have been designed to banish the notion that the HSE acted improperly in the enquiry, as they released this statement:

The HSE sent five letters to HIQA in order seek further information and supporting documentation to allow it (the HSE) and its staff members to respond appropriately to inaccuracies, a lack of context and certain findings in parts of HIQA’s Report into the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients in the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

 

Earlier today, some media outlets characterised the engagement by the HSE towards HIQA as “menacing contact”.

 

The HSE disputes strongly any such characterisation.

 

In order to allow members of the media and the public to reach their own conclusions on this matter, the HSE is now publishing all five letters to HIQA. The HSE has chosen not to publish any letters that it received from HIQA as that would be a matter for that organisation.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar earlier said he wants to avoid a legal battle between HIQA and the HSE over the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise report, with suggestions that publication of the report in its current form could spark litigious proceedings. 

An investigation into the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise was set up over a year ago by former health minister James Reilly after five baby deaths in the maternity unit between 2006 and 2012. 

HIQA appointed a panel to examine the matter and its draft report is now finished, with suggestions that the document places some of the blame for the tragedies on shortcomings with HSE corporate management.