Calls for wider review at LUH

THERE are calls for a wider review at Letterkenny University Hospital to make sure the failings in the gynaecology service are not happening in other departments.
Sinn Féin TDs Pearse Doherty and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, who spoke with Saolta senior management on Friday, are also calling for a review of gynaecology services across the country to determine whether the failings are confined to Letterkenny or more widespread.
Speaking to the Donegal News after the meeting Pearse Doherty said they have asked for a report every three months on the implementation of the recommendations from the review because they have no confidence that the hospital or Saolta will implement them on their own.

The shocking review found women who suffered delayed cancer diagnosis were wrongly triaged and not booked in for follow up appointments in some cases. The review looked at six cases between 2010 and 2019 where women suffered a suspected, missed or delayed diagnosis of endometrial cancer. There were 133 women diagnosed with endometrial  cancer over that period and 38 of these patients had to wait longer than 100 days for diagnosis or treatment. Nearly three in every ten women diagnosed with endometrial cancer in LUH over the ten year period faced some form of delay and nearly one in every five women had a delay with a potentially significant consequence. “Each delayed diagnosis was an opportunity to learn and to improve, and these opportunities were not taken,” the report stated.

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.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007
Every Thursday
Every Monday

Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland