Statement from FF Health Spokesperson on University Hospital Kerry

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher TD has said that he is shocked and disturbed that 26,000 people are now anxiously worried about their health as a result of poor clinical management at University Hospital Kerry.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting after it emerged that 46,000 scans, such as X-rays, cat scans and ultrasounds need to be reviewed as a result of concerns over the clinical abilities of the person who reviewed them in the first instance.

“This is a very worrying time for the patients and families of those involved. Many rightly believed that after their scan was taken, and that as follow up was recomended, that their health worries were behind them.

“To now find out that their scans need to be reviewed will cause severe anxiety and worry, and my heart goes out to them.

“Minister Harris, as line minister for the HSE, needs to explain what he knew, and when he knew it. A hands off approach, which is Minister Harris’ usual modus operandi, is not acceptable in this instance.

“The Minister needs to set out what he is doing to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future at this, or indeed, any other hospital.

“I am concerned that one person was responsible for the reviewing of so many different scans. It’s clear to me that irrespective of their clinical abilities, this is a very heavy workload for any person.

“What’s more concerning though is that there didn’t seem to be any oversight of this person’s work, and that there were no checks and balances in place to ensure that mistakes were spotted.

“This is the second time in three years that an incident such as this has occurred. The missed scans in Tallaght Hospital should have spurred on a review of how diagnostics are reviewed in the HSE, but it clearly wasn’t enough to stop the same mistake happening in University Hospital Kerry.

“I’m led to believe that he Clinical Review Team is due to complete its work by mid-March. There can be no slippage in terms of meeting this target. Too many people are anxiously awaiting news of their own review, and the sooner it’s completed the better for everyone concerned,” concluded Kelleher.