Government may set up independent inquiry into failings in children's audiology services

Government may set up independent inquiry into failings in children's audiology services
File photo

The Government is considering setting up an independent inquiry to investigate failings in children's audiology services.

The HSE has been forced to apologise to around 60 families in the west of Ireland after they failed to provide proper services to children with hearing difficulties.

It comes less than a year after the HSE sent out similar apologies to anonther 49 children for failures in the provision of audiology services.

Under questioning in the Dáil Taoiseach Leo Varadkar clearly laid the blame for the mistakes on the medical staff after Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald suggested that Fianna Fáil are happy to allow the Minister for Health and the Government "evade accountability for the many failures in our services".

But responding Mr Varadkar said the clinician who made the mistake, who carried out the hearing tests and either failed to diagnose, or to ensure that the children and people affected got the proper follow up was "very obviously" responsible.

Mr Varadkar claimed that Ms McDonald was trying to turn the issue into a political attack but he said this "is not about Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael or Micheál Martin or Simon Harris" and instead it was about the clinician involved.

"The problem was identified internally. The HSE assistant clinical lead for audiology services identified the problem and acted on it and I understand the people who made the mistakes are no longer working for our public health service and there are appropriate professional bodies that register people and can sanction them and strike them off," the Taoiseach said.

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