THE Health and Information Authority (HIQA) will undertake an inspection at Letterkenny University Hospital next week which will include the hospital’s gynaecology services.
HIQA confirmed that this announced inspection will take into account their previous review published last October which found further improvements were needed in the management of gynaecology services at Letterkenny University Hospital to ensure the safety of women. It also found there were weaknesses in governance structures and processes at the hospital and oversight quality assurance mechanisms at Saolta Group level.
“HIQA will be undertaking an announced inspection at Letterkenny University Hospital next week. This inspection is using our new approach to monitoring against the NSSBH (National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare) which was launched in March,” said a HIQA spokesperson.
“Our focus will be on areas where we know there are potential risks or issues based upon the general nature of healthcare services, and also our prior work in a particular hospital.
“This inspection will therefore take account of the prior gynaecology review, but also other matters as part of a broader inspection approach. As with all of our work, we will be publishing a report once the inspection process is completed.”
The hospital came to HIQA attention following incidents of delayed diagnosis of endometrial cancer.
Dr Margaret MacMahon, who has been campaigning since the death of her sister Carol in 2015 after a missed cancer diagnosis, said this HIQA inspection is very important.
“This HIQA visit really matters. They indicated in their most recent report that there would be accountability if standards were still not being met,” she said.
“This story goes on and on but something really has to give this time.”
Last week the Donegal News revealed that a new senior manager is to be appointed to help address governance issues at the hospital. The move follows a series of workshops facilitated by consultancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) earlier this year held between Saolta management and hospital staff.
“This new senior manager from my perspective needs to be very capable and will need to implement major changes,” said Dr MacMahon, a Bristol based consultant.
“There are many excellent staff in LUH who want to deliver services that tick all the HIQA boxes.
“There are also many patients and relatives who have been affected by clinical incidents (including avoidable deaths) who need to know that there are personnel in LUH that will conform with basic safety standards and with clinical governance. Staff will need to be trained in these areas and the HSE absolutely has to deliver.”
Last week, Saolta CEO, Mr Tony Canavan outlined that the hospital has implemented significant improvements in their gynaecology services including reduced waiting lists for procedures, improved processes to ensure women are seen within the appropriate timeframe and the appointment of a new Clinical Director of Gynaecology. Mr Canavan said the appointment of Dr Ronan Gleeson, a retired consultant from the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, brings both a wealth of experience and an external perspective.