Minister criticises 'lack of honesty' at Irish hospitals

Minister criticises 'lack of honesty' at Irish hospitals

Parents of babies who died at the controversy-hit Midlands hospital in Portlaoise were not dealt with honestly, the Health Minister has said.

Leo Varadkar said it was important that lessons are learned from the failings identified at the hospital in a critical watchdog report, and that those lessons were applied in other healthcare settings across the country.

Earlier this month the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) raised concerns about safety standards at the maternity unit in the Midlands hospital.

Mr Varadkar said a failure to provide parents full information about the deaths of their children was “extremely worrying”.

He stressed the importance of doctors feeling able to be open and honest about mistakes made.

The minister told RTÉ’s This Week programme that while the HSE disputed some of the Hiqa findings, both it and his department accepted all of the watchdog’s recommendations.

“You will probably find similar experiences across the country in lots of other hospitals too where people ... they were handled with a lack of honesty,” he said.

“Again that’s why we need to apply what we are learning from Portlaoise across the board.

“So one of the things I will be doing is bringing in legislation to protect open disclosure to make sure doctors, health professionals are in a position to give information up front to people.”

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