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HIQA publishes details of investigation into Savita case

If the Authority believes there is a continuing risk, the investigation team will be able to extend the terms of reference.

Image: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE HEALTH INFORMATION and Quality Authority has announced details of its investigation into the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration.

The inquiry will look specifically at the care and treatment provided to Savita Halappanavar, as an example of case managment.

Savita died on 28 October in University Hospital Galway after contracting blooding poisoning. An earlier miscarriage had lasted two-and-a-half days and, according to her husband, she was denied a termination because a foetal heartbeat was still detected by medical staff.

The Halappanavar case will not be the only element of care reviewed by the authority as it will look at the treatment available to all pregnant women at UHG.

The probe will review the diagnosis and management of patients with sepsis at the hospital and an assessment will be made against the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare, as well as relevant evidence of what is known to achieve best outcomes – both nationally and internationally.

It will also examine the arrangements the HSE has in place to ensure that clinically deteriorating pregnant women receive care that is compliant with national standards.

The scope of the inquiry will be limited to what the Authority believes to be relevant services and material.

HIQA said that if, in the course of its investigation, it becomes apparent that there are “reasonable grounds to believe that there are further or other serious risks to the health of any person receiving similar services”, the team may recommend to the Authority and/or the Minister for Health, that these terms be “extended to include further investigation or that a new investigation should be undertaken as appropriate”.

A report of the team’s findings will be prepared and published once the investigation is complete. HIQA will also make local and national recommendations as to the standards of services provided by the HSE “to the extent that it considers appropriate”.

The Board said the report will be published after it is approved “for the benefit of the health and welfare of the public”.

For the investigation, the chosen team will have the right to inspect premises, records and documents. It also has the right to conduct interviews and ask for explanations in relation to any pertinent documents.

Meanwhile, the HSE has told RTÉ News that its clinical review into the death of the 31-year-old dentist is “well advanced”. An interim report is due to be given to the Minister for Health before Christmas.

Savita: Family to take case to European Court of Human Rights

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