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Dublin: 19 °C Wednesday 30 July, 2014

Deadline for HSE response to HIQA over Savita death today

The health watchdog has sought assurances about the safety of maternity care at the Galway hospital where Savita Halappanavar died last month.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE HSE IS expected to respond to a request from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) for assurances in relation to patient safety at the hospital where Savita Halappanvar died last month.

HIQA, the country’s independent health watchdog, wrote to both the Health Service Executive and Galway University Hospital last week following the revelation about the death of Savita.

The 31-year-old dentist died at the hospital at the end of last month after contracting blood poisoning following a miscarriage. Her family claim that she was denied an abortion despite repeated requests.

HIQA did not learn about the death until it was first reported in the Irish Times last week and it subsequently wrote to both the hospital and the HSE asking for assurances about patient safety and care and giving them a week to respond.

Yesterday a spokesperson for HIQA said that it had received a response from Galway University Hospital, which it wrote to on Wednesday of last week, and was awaiting a response from the HSE, which it wrote to last Thursday.

“We will review both of the responses before we make any further comment,” he said.

There have been calls for the health watchdog to investigate the Savita case in the wake of criticism of the HSE’s own probe from the woman’s husband, Praveen Halappanavar, who has said he will not cooperate with it.

HIQA has powers under the Health Act to initiative an inquiry if it is not satisfied with safety assurances given by the hospital and the HSE.

Health Minister James Reilly can also request a HIQA inquiry but he said yesterday that he was “quite happy” to allow the HSE inquiry to proceed despite the problems it has so far encountered.

Read: Praveen Halappanavar: “I still can’t believe that she’s not with us”

Read: HSE names new members of Savita investigation team

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