LABOUR TD Seán Sherlock says the HIQA report on Mallow Hospital which has just been published vindicates doctors and staff at the hospital.
“I welcome the publication today of the HIQA report on Mallow General Hospital. The report clearly indicates that there was no specific complaint by a patient or groups of patients in relation to specific surgical or medical procedures in the hospital.
“This clearly vindicates the medical staff at the Hospital. These workers have had a cloud hanging over them since this investigation began in August 2010. The report clearly shows that their position as healthcare professionals is beyond reproach. We have always believed that to be the case.
“The report also clearly shows that there has been an under investment and shortage of resources at the Hospital for over a decade. Today’s report highlights the HSE failure in general, to implement the recommendations arising from the previous HIQA investigation at Ennis General Hospital.
“It examines Mallow in the context of the Ennis recommendations and whether they have been implemented throughout smaller hospitals. Mallow has moved to implement these recommendations in the intervening period, and this is very positive. On-site clinical cover is now in place 24-7 and triage operates in the Emergency Department and a clinical audit system is in place. In addition, the governance structures underpinning the relationship between Mallow general Hospital and CUH are being addressed.
“I welcome the statement by Health Minister Dr James Reilly, that there is a future for smaller hospitals like Mallow, and I believe that this secures the future of the facility.
“The reconfiguration process in the Cork-Kerry region should now continue in a manner that places Mallow as an integral part of that process. I envisage that Mallow will carve out a niche in delivering acute medical services and also in working towards becoming a centre of excellence for short-stay surgical procedures. I believe that there is a latent realisation within the HSE that Mallow is an essential part of the Southern group of hospitals.
“The HSE does not come out of this report smelling of roses. We have been trying for decades to get the HSE to recognise Mallow’s potential and this report clearly shows that the HSE must pull up its socks and back Mallow as an essential facility.
“Some of the points in the report, especially those relating to statistical data collection and analysis, indicate that HSE was remiss and clearly ignored Mallow Hospital as an entity. In addition, it seems that Mallow was a virtual Siberia in terms of its relationship to Cork University Hospital.
“I hope that the HSE will take on board the recommendations of the report and realise that Mallow, because of the number of patients it treats, must remain integral part of the delivery of acute medicine in the region.
“This report will come as a relief to staff at Mallow Hospital, but to be honest, I never had any doubt about the standards of excellence that they have consistently met. The HSE must now realise that if Mallow is undermined in any way, or if its capacity is reduced, then the reconfiguration process in the Cork and Kerry region, will be doomed to failure,” he said.