HSE West members vote to defer public inquiry into Savita death

Two members of the HSE West regional forum were unsuccessful in their calls for an independent public inquiry into the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway in October at a meeting of the forum this week. The motion was tabled by Clare county councillor Brian Meaney and seconded by Galway city councillor Catherine Connolly.

However the majority of members at Tuesday’s meeting opted instead to vote in favour of deferring such an inquiry until the findings of the other three investigations into Mrs Halappanavar’s death are known.

The four Mayo representatives, councillors Austin Francis O’Malley, Tom Connolly, Annie May Reape, and Seamus Weir, supported deferring such an inquiry.

A statement was read out at the meeting from HSE management outlining the actions taken by the service following Mrs Halappanavar’s death and the timeline for such actions.

Bill Maher, group CEO, Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group, said the group had privately and publicly expressed its condolences to Praveen Halappanavar.

Tony Canavan, chief operating officer for the group but speaking in his capacity as general manager of University Hospital Galway, outlined that three investigations were currently under way.

One is being carried out by HIQA, one by the coroner, and an internal review in line with national and international best practice is being conducted by the HSE’s National Incident Management Team.

Cllr Connolly questioned why it had taken a month for the HSE to clarify what actions it was undertaking and why there was an “absence of comment” and “utter silence” until the tragedy was reported in The Irish Times on November 14. “It would have been greatly helped if this had been given before now,” she added, while asking for a completion date for the clinical review.

According to Mr Canavan UHG is co-operating fully with the National Incident Management Team and also with Mr Halappanavar’s legal representatives in his requests for medical records.

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