Revelations this week that two patients were subjected to delayed diagnosis and another to an unnecessary procedure at University Hospital Galway because of errors in the work of Dr E are “worrying” and reveal “a persistent problem”.
This is the view of Fine Gael councillor Brian Walsh who said the review of the work of a locum pathologist shows diagnostic errors, relating to the work of locums, are a “persistent problem” brought about by “the dependence on contract staff in the absence of sufficient full time consultant staff”.
“The report identifies ‘a significant dependence on short-term locum consultants’ to sustain the service at the hospital,” he said. “This is a persistent problem.”
According to Cllr Walsh, the report notes that a more robust procedure for recruiting locum pathologists has been in place at the hospital since 2004.
However Cllr Walsh is not convinced and alleged that the locum’s work would not have been reviewed had the British NHS not contacted the hospital.
“This does not give confidence that a robust system of ongoing review takes place in Ireland,” he said. “The maddening fact is that a report dating back to 2002, the Lynott Report, made significant recommendations on locums which were never followed through. Since 2007 problems with the work of locums have arisen again and again. This is a trend that must end.”