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Dáil Issues, Health, Oral Questions

Minister Varadkar recognises need to address the right of women to access terminations in Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities but not prepared to do anything about it…He is also happy to see HSE investigate itself…Not good enough…

To ask the Minister for Health his plans to deal with terminations of pregnancy in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

Clare Daly T.D.
As the Deputy is aware Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution states that:

‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.’

A referendum would be required to amend the Constitution so that terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormality would be lawful. However, I do believe that this matter should be dealt with in the 32nd Dáil and that is a position I will be advocating within my party and elsewhere.

Finally I wish to extend my sympathy to any family that has to experience it and I would like to take this opportunity to remind everybody that supports are available for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy through the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme.

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 25/02/2015
To ask the Minister for Health if he is satisfied with persons who were formally employed by the Health Service Executive being involved in investigations into their practices.

Clare Daly T.D.

The HSE has a National Safety Incident Management Policy which sets out the steps to be taken when an investigation is required. In addition, the HSE has a range of processes in place which provide guidance on these matters including, the National Policy for Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons at Risk of Abuse, Trust in Care etc.

The HSE’s National Safety Incident Management Policy was updated in 2014 and is in line with international practice in patient safety and risk management. It requires that those who conduct such investigations are competent investigators who have the requisite training and skills required. Investigators should not have responsibility for the service they investigate; nor should they have been involved in the incident that is being investigated. It does not prevent a person who is or was an employee of the HSE from becoming involved in a review or an investigation of a service managed or funded by the HSE.

In many circumstances, clinical directors and other senior clinicians will, as part of learning and organisational improvement, undertake investigations, look-backs and audits. Furthermore, the HSE as the primary health service employer will employ the majority of individuals in this jurisdiction who would have the specialist skills and expertise required for any given review or investigation. When independence from the HSE is required, the HSE policy does provide for national and international experts to be part of reviews. There are arrangements in place with national and international professional bodies for identifying these experts and this further contributes to the independence of the experts who are participating in these reviews.