Varadkar: 'Ireland's maternity hospitals are safe' 5 years ago

Varadkar: 'Ireland's maternity hospitals are safe'

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has spoken out to assure Irish women that Ireland's maternity services are safe, following a public outcry over the ongoing review of Portiuncula Hospital in Galway.

The Ballinasloe hospital has set up a helpline for patients after it was revealed that two babies died and five more were deprived of oxygen at birth between February and November, 2013.

The hospital admitted that "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."

According to new reports, staff at Portiuncula had raised concerns about the increase in problem births before the official review was ordered.

The Minister commented: "My first concern of course is for the seven families who are involved and particularly of course the two families who lost children in these cases that are under review.

"I think it's important, of course, to reassure people that maternity services in Ireland are safe."

The Saolta Hospital Group, which oversees Portiuncula Hospital, has asked that concerned maternity service users contact the helpline on 0909 624 620 between 9am and 5pm throughout the weekend.