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Taoiseach: Independent report into baby deaths would only happen after HSE inquiry

Health Minister James Reilly has ordered a HSE investigation, but there have been calls to have health watchdog HIQA brought in straight away

Image: Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY HAS said that an independent investigation into the deaths of four babies at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise would only take place once a HSE inquiry has been completed.

An RTÉ Prime Time investigation last week examined the deaths of four babies over six years at the hospital’s maternity unit, and found that they had no physical conditions which would have led to their death. The programme said that “other factors” had led to the deaths.

An inquest into the death of one of the children ruled that he had died due to medical misadventure. The family of another baby who died in 2006 was never told that there had been an investigation into the death.

Minister for Health James Reilly has said a HSE investigation will be carried out, and that he will consider involving  HIQA once the full report has been completed.

Some of the parents featured in last week’s programme have called for the independent watchdog to be brought in straight away — a call echoed by Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Enda Kenny said “clearly the inefficiencies pointed out in the system that applied in Portlaoise have got to be addressed”.

“The Minister has asked for an immediate report from his Chief Medical Officer, and the possibility of an inquiry by independent HIQA afterwards”.

Read: Missed the Prime Time investigation? Here’s what you need to know >

Read: Health Minister calls for report into the death of babies at Portlaoise Hospital >

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