Bereaved parents meet Health Minister in Portlaoise

Bereaved parents who attended a meeting in Portlaoise with the Health Minister have said that the stories they heard are horrific and tragic.

Bereaved parents meet Health Minister in Portlaoise

Bereaved parents who attended a meeting in Portlaoise with the Health Minister have said that the stories they heard are horrific and tragic.

Leo Varadkar’s has met with the parents of children who died at the hospital’s maternity unit in recent years.

The Health Information and Quality Authority said last week that it could not definitively say that the hospital was safe after an investigation.

Sharon McCarthy, whose baby Katelyn died at Portlaoise in 2006 has said that the situation is heartbreaking.

"It is tragic to hear so many stories. And it is heartbreaking because we thought we were the only ones it happened to, but we were mislead in that belief," said Ms McCarthy.

A senior official in HIQA says maternity services in the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise have improved since it began compiling its most recent report.

The agency's report, issued last Friday raised concerns with the mortality rate of newborn babies at the hospital.

The report was based on a series of visits to the hospital which ended last October.

Deputy director of regulation, Mary Dunning, has said that the standards had already increased by then, after HIQA recommended that managers take a hands-on approach.

"In our last meeting with the hospital in October , they had evidence of a change in patients' experiences," said Ms Dunning.

"We believe that that was due to changes in the management structure that gave that visible presence around the wards meeting around patients, and obviously staff becoming more aware of that."

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