Europe

Portiuncula Hospital, County Galway: Investigation after death of babies

Portiuncula Hospital, County Galway Image copyright RTE
Image caption Saolta Hospital Group, which runs Portiuncula, opened the inquiry after concerns were raised

Serious deficiencies in maternity care at Portiuncula Hospital in County Galway are being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

It follows the deaths of two babies during childbirth between February and November of last year.

Another five babies were seriously deprived of oxygen during delivery at the hospital's maternity unit during the same period.

They had to be transferred to hospital in Dublin for emergency treatment.

RTÉ reports that the HSE's Saolta Hospital Group, which runs Portiuncula, opened the inquiry after concerns were raised.

Several serious care deficiencies have been identified, including issues relating to foetal heartbeat monitoring during labour, as well as the administration of drugs and delivery methods.

Saolta said it was in the process of contacting the families of the babies affected.

It is understood no staff members have been moved from their roles or suspended since the problems emerged at the beginning of December.

The HSE said additional training had been provided for all maternity staff and extra supervision was in place.

Safety

It also said it was satisfied that, as a result of these measures, there was now no patient safety risk at the hospital's maternity unit.

The families of the babies are being offered consultations with medical staff and support services.

They will also be consulted on the terms of reference for the inquiry, which will be chaired by an independent expert.

The report is due within three months.