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Maternity Complaints Review makes 12 recommendations

Just over 200 complaints were received relating to patient experiences at nine maternity hospitals over four decades.

The report published today finds that 31 of the 203 complaints related specifically to perinatal deaths.

Of the total complaints, 153 patients consented to participate in the review process. 130 complaints related to Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP), with 23 relating to eight other maternity hospitals.

“It was important that patients’ complaints were heard, not least as it has served to inform and improve how we deliver and develop maternity services,” said the Commissioner of the review Dr Susan O’Reilly, CEO of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

“The review team has endeavoured to answer questions, identify issues that needed further review or investigation, and make clear findings and recommendations.”

The clinical review team made recommendations to the Commissioner, including patient apologies, referral of certain complaints for full system analysis, and 12 other specific recommendations.

“First of all Portlaoise is a safe place to have a baby, as safe as any other unit in the country now. Mothers and couples should be reassured about that,” said Dr Peter Boylan Chair of the Review Team who was speaking to the media at the launch of the report attended by the Medical Independent (MI).

“What has become recognised in recent years when adverse events happen in a hospital where staff make mistakes, or human frailties come to the fore, they often are, what is known now as a second victim. I think that the current staff at Portlaoise Hospital are working extremely hard, and clearly the results of their achievement is on par with the best in Ireland. They deserve support.”

Dr Boylan, who is also Chairman of the Executive Council of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added during the questions and answers session that “I think the other thing we have learned is that governance of maternity services are really important. You need to have somebody who has authority, but who is also accountable.

“But in order to have proper authority and accountability they need to have budgetary allocation which is appropriate to deliver a high quality service. And if you look back over what happened in Portlaoise over the years there was serious underinvestment in the service down there.

“I think the development of the [Hospital] Groups and the clinical directors will hopefully tie all that together.

“It is very important that maternity services have a protected budget.”

* A copy of the review can be found at

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