Deputy Doherty said lessons have to be learned and said it will be one of the first issues he will be raising when the Dail reconvenes this week.
“We went through the report in great detail with the HSE and Saolta and it is a catalogue of failures at every single level. It is a complete and utter failure of women and it is not acceptable,” he said.
“The Health Minister needs to take a personal interest in this. We will be escalating this to a national level. If it was the Mater Hospital in Dublin and a third of all patients had a delayed diagnosis there would be major uproar. We want to make sure the women in Donegal get the same treatment and respect.”
Dr Margaret MacMahon, who campaigned for the review, also said this is “only the tip of the iceberg” and said a review is needed to examine more cases. She said this particular review only looked at post-menopausal bleeding, just one condition within gynaecology.
Meanwhile the Irish Cancer Society has sought an urgent meeting with the Health Minister. They have requested a full briefing on the review and will raise questions about the impact of the clinical failures on women’s health outcomes, the measures that have been taken to date and the timelines and resourcing being made available to LUH to implement the recommendations.
“We will also ask the Minister to outline the national picture of gynaecological services, and seek evidence that necessary resourcing and capacity is being provided across the country so that gynaecology services at every hospital embody and deliver best practice and patient-centred care at every point,” the Charity said.
The Irish Cancer Society’s Support Line (1800 200 700), which is staffed by cancer nurses, is available to support any patient or family member affected by the review.
Health Care Group Saolta issued a statement early Thursday morning offering the women impacted an apology. Hospital Manager at LUH, Seán Murphy, said: “On behalf of LUH, I would like to apologise to women where the care provided to them fell short of the standards that they should expect. Over the last two weeks, we have contacted each of the patients or families where women with a diagnosis of endometrial cancer waited longer than 100 days for their diagnosis and treatment. We have offered to meet each of these women or their families and to date we have met many of them and provided them with a copy of the clinical review relevant to their own care. We have also provided them with a copy of Dr Price’s wider clinical review and we have committed to updating them on the improvements that we are continuing to put in place in the gynaecology service.
“The gynaecology team is fully committed to implementing the recommendations in this independent review and work has already begun on many of these recommendations. We will continue to work hard to make sure that we provide the safest possible gynaecological service to the women of Donegal.”
A Special Measures Team, comprising an external Consultant Obstetrician / Gynaecologist and Senior Manager from the Saolta Group have been on site in LUH since early July to support and oversee the implementation plan to address the recommendations in the report.
“We will be ensuring that a robust process is in place involving continuous audit and review of performance data which will provide assurance that all women are being managed safely within the appropriate timeframes,” said Dr Pat Nash, Saolta Group Chief Clinical Director.
“The hospital has restructured its processes for triaging patients and assigning appointments, additional staff have been approved and the recruitment process has commenced, an additional gynaecology clinic is taking place weekly, and work has begun on commissioning an additional dedicated maternity theatre.”