Mother who lost baby says more will die until HSE acts

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Mother who lost baby says more will die until HSE acts
Mother who lost baby says more will die until HSE acts

The mother of a baby who died minutes after he was being born in hospital has said “little or nothing” has changed in the eight years since his death.

Róisín Molloy has warned that babies will continue to die like her son Mark in 2012 until the HSE fully implements and funds the National Maternity Strategy.

She was speaking after a “damning” report into maternity services by the health watchdog Hiqa criticised the HSE’s lack of leadership in implementing the strategy.

Established by Leo Varadkar in 2016, the 10-year plan is designed to tighten patient safety standards. It was due to receive €8m per year in funding but, to date, it has only received a fraction of that funding.

It followed a review of baby deaths at maternity units around the county, including Portlaoise Hospital.

This was where Mark Molloy died after just 22 minutes. At his inquest, the jury concluded he died from medical misadventure. But despite promises by successive ministers of health about the strategy, it is effectively in tatters, she claims.

“They seem to forget that because of their failings, Mark is not around,” Róisín said. “He doesn’t have his Communion this year. His chair is empty at the table and that is the reality but I just don’t think they care.”

The Hiqa review found comprehensive planning across the full 10-year time frame of the strategy is still not in place.

“No matter what way you look at this Hiqa report, it is a damning indictment on the HSE,” Ms Molloy said.

“I got involved with helping to formulate this maternity strategy after what happened to our family. I did that because I wanted to make sure Mark’s death meant something.

But now, having read the Hiqa report, I feel nothing is going to change. We feel the HSE has exploited our desire to make a difference and change the system.

“They invited us on to the various boards and we accepted — but they reneged on their promises and assurances, which we had foolishly believed.

“It’s bad enough that they failed our son and he died, but theny failed us by refusing to tell us how and why he died. And then they failed us again, by breaking the promises and assurances they made to us. It is just appalling.

“I’ve finally come to the conclusion my son’s death means nothing to the HSE and neither do the deaths of all the other babies who have died, and will continue to die.

The HSE is blatantly disregarding a strategy that could save lives, and not giving it adequate funding.

In a statement, the HSE said it broadly welcomed the report which found the 19 maternity hospitals were in compliance with the Hiqa standards.

However, it said, in order to properly implement the National Maternity Strategy, given its scale, it needed the necessary funding.

Source: Full Feed