Belfast Telegraph

Savita death: staff disciplined

Nine staff at the hospital where an Indian dentist died after suffering a miscarriage have been disciplined, it has been confirmed.

Although an independent review panel found most of those who treated Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital in Galway had "no case to answer", written warnings and other sanctions were imposed against a number of workers.

The West/ North West Hospitals Group said: "The disciplinary process in respect of most of the other nine staff is now complete.

"In some cases pre-procedural informal counselling with training and mentoring was applied, in others written warnings were issued.

"The process is still under way for a small number of staff."

Mrs Halappanavar, 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to hospital in October 2012. Her death, five days after she was refused a termination, sparked widespread public debate which eventually forced a controversial change in abortion legislation.

A number of different reports into the care Mrs Halappanavar received, particularly as her condition worsened, identified multiple shortcomings.

The hospital said 21 staff members were informed "some months ago" that they would not face disciplinary action and were not brought into the formal process.

But, it claimed to have drafted in an external oversight panel in a bid to restore public confidence in the maternity services.

Under the HSE's disciplinary rules, written warnings, which form the second stage of disciplinary procedures, are issued for a period of nine months "if the employee fails to make the necessary improvements or if the nature of the unsatisfactory performance/conduct is more serious".

Pre-procedure counselling is a less formal method of addressing issues without invoking the disciplinary procedure.

According to the HSE guidelines, the purpose of counselling is to ensure that employees understand what is expected from them and to provide an opportunity to discuss any aspects of the job which may be causing difficulties in achieving the required standards.

A Group spokesman said: "The purpose of this disciplinary procedure is to ensure that all employees adhere to the required standards by making them aware of any shortcomings and identifying how the necessary improvements can be achieved. The key objective is to assist the employee to maintain the required standards, rather than impose penalties."

The Irish Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Board Ireland are also considering some cases.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph