An independent review of maternity services is underway at a Galway maternity hospital following the death of two babies as a result of oxygen deprivation during delivery.
An internal review of maternity care at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe also found another five babies had evidence of hypoxia during delivery.
In line with the requirement of the HSE “Open Disclosure” policy, the seven affected families are being contacted by the hospital and appointments made where requested for consultations with medical staff and support services.
According to a statement issued by the Saolta University Health Care Group on behalf of the hospital, there have been no other negative perinatal outcomes since the enhanced monitoring measures were put in place.
The group stated the hospital has put in place enhanced care processes and monitoring of women in labour at its maternity unit to address quality of care issues that arose during the period between February and November 2014.
On December 4th, the Saolta Group mandated the implementation of corrective measures designed to address the quality of care issues that had been identified.
Since then in repeated re-audits the hospital has confirmed the on-going full implementation of the corrective measures.
Additional training has been provided to all maternity staff and additional senior supervision is being provided to both medical and midwifery staff.
The group is satisfied that there is no continuing patient safety concern arising from the issues identified.
These cases were identified as part of the quality management systems in place in the group.
The review of the care delivered to seven babies who experienced negative perinatal outcomes in Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe found that there were two infant mortalities and a further five babies had evidence of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) during delivery.
Apparent deficiencies in intra-partum care were identified which included interpretation and review of CTG tracings; administration of drugs to accelerate labour and instrumental delivery.
Details of the team membership and terms of reference will be published when finalised shortly.
The findings of the review will be made available to the families affected and will be presented to the HSE and Health Minister Leo Varadkar and his Department and will be published. It is expected this report will be available within approximately three months.
The group regrets any distress this process may cause to the families involved and to other service users and in particular wishes to sympathise with the families of the two babies who died.
It offers any services that they may require to support them in dealing with the issues that arise.