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17th Feb 2016

Irish Maternity Hospitals to Release Monthly Safety Reports

Katie Mythen-Lynch

The public is to be given access to monthly safety data from each of the country’s 19 maternity hospitals from the end of February.

Hot on the heels of a damning report into hygiene standards and overcrowding at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has ordered every hospital in the Republic of Ireland to comply with the new rule, releasing information and statistics on clinical incidents, newborn baby deaths and Caesarean section rates.

According to The Irish Independent however, the masters of the three main maternity hospitals in Dublin, the National Maternity Hospital (Holles Street), the Rotunda and the Coombe, are unhappy about the decision to make the information public.

The paper reports thatDr Sharon Sheehan, Dr Rhona Mahony and Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, who has since finished his tenure, wrote to the HSE in September to warn that the information to be included in the monthly statements would leave the hospitals at risk of “adverse publicity and media scrutiny”.

They also expressed concerns about the risks to “patient confidentiality”, saying that, depending on the health issue, the patient may be easily recognisable. The letter also said the “risk of data misinterpretation is also of significant concern”.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar supports the monthly reports, which will also be rolled out in general hospitals in the future.

Do you agree Ireland’s maternity hospitals should make their safety data public? Let us know on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.