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The risk, which has been open since June 2015, is contained on the group’s risk register for February 2017, which was released to the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.
According to the register, a high risk is represented by “the lack of access to a dedicated obstetric theatre in UHK [University Hospital Kerry], second on-call emergency theatre nursing team on all maternity sites and routine foetal anomaly scans”.
Following publication in 2015 of HIQA’s Portlaoise report, the HSE established a National Implementation Group to implement HIQA recommendations for all maternity units and acute hospitals.
However, MI understands that many hospitals are struggling to implement the recommendations.
Speaking to MI, Prof Louise Kenny, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), said these issues are well known and now fall within the governance of Prof John Higgins, the newly-appointed Clinical Director of Maternity Services in the SSWHG.
“He is very motivated to sort those issues as soon as possible,” Prof Kenny noted.
Meanwhile, a multi-year plan to address long waiting times for benign gynaecology in Cork has been developed.
A HSE spokesperson said the plan would require the provision of additional theatre days to improve waiting times in 2017.
“In 2018, it will require the opening of the second theatre in CUMH, with associated staffing and revenue funding. The final phase requires both capital and revenue to improve outpatient capacity and meet future demand.
“The South/South West Hospital Group is working on the provision of additional locum consultants to address the current demand. The provision of permanent consultants will form part of the estimates submission for 2018.
“The inequitable situation regarding ultrasounds is part of the implementation plan for the National Maternity Strategy, and will require additional resources in the 2018 estimates.”
Cork has the largest number of outpatients waiting for gynaecology services in the country, with 4,265 patients awaiting care at the end of 2016.
In relation to inpatient day case gynaecology services, CUMH has the second-highest number of patients waiting nationally, with 428 patients seeking care at the end of 2016.