Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Kenny warns on maternity standards

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned the Health Service Executive to improve standards in maternity hospitals after a damning report revealed a string of failures in the care of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned the Health Service Executive (HSE) to improve standards in maternity hospitals after a damning report revealed a string of failures in the care of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar.

As health chiefs claimed that staffing shortages were hampering medical professionals in their duties, Mr Kenny challenged the organisation to "measure up".

"Clearly there are standards that have to be met," he said.

"Standards will be met. There just can't be any equivocation about these matters.

"This report is an important series of findings out of a tragic case. It's the responsibility of the HSE and the department to measure up and we have to see that that happens."

An inquiry by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) yesterday reported that there were 13 missed opportunities to treat Mrs Halappanavar's worsening condition over three days following her admission last October.

A week later she died after suffering septic shock.

Hiqa also warned that 14 out of the country's 19 maternity hospitals failed to show that they were living up to standards set down in the wake of the death of Garda Tania McCabe, who died from sepsis during pregnancy in 2007.

Hiqa found that medical staff at University Hospital Galway failed to give Mrs Halappanavar the most basic care.

She contracted sepsis blood poisoning and was refused a termination as she miscarried.

The Taoiseach said he would read the Hiqa report carefully and in detail.

"I have listened to the initial comments from both the (Health) minister (James Reilly) and from some of the eminent medical professionals," Mr Kenny said.

"Clearly what is of paramount importance is to have absolutely the highest safety standards applicable in all walks of life, particularly here in maternity hospitals."

Mr Kenny said he had noted claims about the need for extra medical personnel.

"Let's see what is the best approach to adopt here to have every mother-to-be absolutely confident and happy in the knowledge that the services they get in our maternity hospitals will be the very best possible," he said.

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