herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Kenny insists maternity services 'safe' in wake of latest baby death

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The HSE has confirmed the death of a baby at Cavan General Hospital on Wednesday 13th Ma
The HSE has confirmed the death of a baby at Cavan General Hospital on Wednesday 13th Ma

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has insisted that maternity services are safe as it emerged that the HSE is investigating the death of a baby in Cavan General Hospital yesterday.

It is the fourth death of a baby in less than three years at one of the country's smaller maternity units.

"I've just heard of the tragic news from Cavan of the tragic news of the death of another baby and I think we should empathise with the parents in this case," Mr Kenny said on TV3 this morning.

He gave assurances to expectant parents that "Ireland's maternity services have always been very safe" though he conceded that tragedies do happen.

READ MORE: Probe as baby dies at Cavan hospital

Approximately 2,000 babies are delivered at Cavan General Hospital each year.

In 2014, in the wake of the deaths of three babies within 18 months, former health minister James Reilly said he would task HIQA with examining maternity services at the hospital.

However, it is understood that no formal order was made to HIQA to investigate the unit - and no review was carried out.

The HSE has confirmed that the latest death occurred but did not furnish any more details. It expressed its sympathy to the family and said a full review would take place.

"I don't want to draw conclusions here because I do not know what happened in the sense of not having the facts and they're now being investigated by the HSE, but I do think that arising from the HIQA report into Portlaoise, clearly there are implications for maternity services throughout the country," Mr Kenny said.

"You've got to have the patient at the centre of the service being delivered."

Last week HIQA published a report into maternity services at Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise. Among other findings it disclosed that mothers whose babies died were told not to cry in case they upset other mums on the ward.

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