Statement from the Minister for Health following the HIQA report into Tallaght Hospital

17 May 2012

In welcoming the report from the Health Information and Quality Authority into the services provided to patients in the Emergency Department at Tallaght Hospital, Dr James Reilly, Minister for Health, offered his condolences to the family involved. The report results from an investigation following the death on a corridor of a patient awaiting admission in March 2011.

The Minister said “I want to offer my deepest sympathies to the family concerned. We must never forget that this report is first and foremost about patient safety and that it all began because of the death of a patient on a trolley in a corridor adjacent to the Emergency Department. I know that the loved ones involved will find this traumatic and that patients in all of our acute hospitals need the assurance that this matter is being dealt with in an effective way, that lessons have been learned and that Quality Assurance Systems are being put in place across the country”

The Minister recognises this report as an important element in driving the Health Reform Programme which is focusing on and prioritising patient safety and best governance. “The HIQA report gives us the template for hospital governance which will be the foundation for the governance of the new Hospital Groups to be established this year. I have also today approved the HIQA National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare. These standards will support the development of quality safe healthcare services” the Minister said.

The Minister said that he was seeking the greatest collaboration and personal commitment from all involved in the acute hospital system to protect patients and ensure the very best outcomes despite the challenging economic and financial circumstances we face.

Many changes have already occurred and others are underway in Tallaght Hospital and the report recognises this. The Minister said that he wanted to acknowledge the contribution of staff at the hospital to implementing change.

“The staff of the hospital have a hugely important role in responding to the challenges ahead, restoring confidence in this hospital and supporting it to achieve its potential. I would also ask the local community to support the staff and the Hospital as it faces the challenges ahead” the Minister said.

As recommended in the report, the Minister is putting in place, as a priority, an oversight committee to implement its recommendations. He also announced that the Chief Medical Officer has referred the report to the Medical Council and An Bord Altranais.

“It is completely unacceptable that there was no clarity as to who was providing medical supervision of these patients. For that reason the Chief Medical Officer has referred the report to the Medical Council and An Bord Altranais to ask them to address the significant issues that arise here.” the Minister said.

The Minister has also noted the report’s findings into certain financial issues within the hospital. The Minister welcomes the involvement of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office into this matter but given the role of the C&AG, the Minister does not wish to comment further in light of his investigation.

ENDS