A report on maternity services in Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, which was due to be provided to the families involved by the end of 2015, has been met with further delays this week.
The review into the care provided to women in the hospital’s maternity unit was originally expected to be completed by the end of December, and was then pushed out until January.
It is now expected that the affected families, whose children died or were adversely affected following delivery in Portiuncula, will be furnished with a draft of the report by the end of next week.
A total of 18 cases are covered by the review, including the deaths of two babies at the hospital between February and November 2014. During the same period, a number of other babies were seriously deprived of oxygen during delivery at the maternity unit, and these cases are also under review.
The aim of the review, which was set up last March, is to identify whether there were deficiencies in the care process, and if so, the extent of these failings. The timeframe was extended from the original five months due to an increase in the number of cases to be considered, and in October the Saolta board was told the review should be expected by the end of the year.
All the families involved have met with the investigators, and the Saolta University Health Care Group says the families will be informed as soon as the draft report is available.
The nine-person review team is being chaired by Professor James Walker from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Leeds, and includes experts in midwifery and gynaecology who have worked in some of Ireland’s top maternity hospitals.
The Saolta group has emphasised that regular audits at the maternity unit have confirmed that there is no continuing patient safety concern arising from the issues identified last year.