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HIQA to review gynaecology services at Letterkenny University Hospital

HIQA has announced that it is to carry out a review of governance arrangements for gynaecology services at Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH).

The review, which commences today, aims to ensure the HSE, Saolta University Health Care Group and the hospital are implementing recommendations of an external review into gynaecology service failures at LUH.

In January, the Medical Independent reported on a discussion at the board of Saolta in September 2020, during which it was suggested HIQA be approached to conduct an “independent hospital-wide review” of Letterkenny. This was raised in the context of discussions on the LUH gynaecology services, the risk register and serious incident management team log.

Mr Sean Egan, HIQA’s Head of Healthcare, said: “It is essential that women accessing gynaecology services are assured that the service is safe and that they are being protected and safeguarded. This review will assess the effectiveness and sustainability of the governance and oversight arrangements to ensure that high-quality gynaecology services are provided at Letterkenny University Hospital.”

HIQA’s review will include an on-site inspection of the service; interviews with key personnel at hospital, Saolta, and national HSE level; and a review of documentation.

The review will be completed and published later this year.

It is being conducted under section 8(1)(c) of the Health Act 2007, which outlines HIQA’s powers to monitor compliance with nationally mandated standards and advise the Minister for Health and the HSE accordingly.

Concerns about gynaecology services at LUH were first raised in 2018. Following continued engagement by HIQA with the HSE, an external review into the totality of post-menopausal bleeding services within the gynaecology services at LUH was commissioned by the HSE in 2019.

The external review, ‘Letterkenny University Hospital: Review of the Gynaecology Service, with a particular focus on post-menopausal bleeding pathways’ was published in July 2020.

The full terms of reference and guide to HIQA’s review are available at www.hiqa.ie.

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