Fianna Fáil has demanded an immediate statement from the Minister for Health James Reilly and the Chair of the West/North West hospital group Noel Daly, following reports that Mr Daly is a major shareholder in the company that carried out a controversial report on the future of maternity services in the region.
Details of the confidential report commissioned by the West/North West Hospital Group were revealed last week by Fianna Fáil’s Seanad Health Spokesperson Senator Marc Mac Sharry.
There were fears over the future of maternity services at Letterkenny General Hospital.
It outlines plans for the dismantling of obstetrician led maternity services in the region, including the downgrading or closure of the maternity units at Portiuncula Hospital, Sligo General, Mayo General and Letterkenny General Hospital.
Senator Mac Sharry said, “Mr Daly’s reported involvement in the private company that was asked to carry out this controversial report raises very serious questions that must be addressed immediately.
“By any objective analysis, this is a direct conflict of interest. It calls into question Mr Daly’s position at the helm of the hospital group and it calls into question the group’s management of this entire ‘review’. We need to know what process was undertaken by the hospital group to select the company to carry out this analysis of maternity services.
“We also need to know what instructions were given to the company about the remit of the report and what involvement the hospital group’s management had in the process. And we need to know what knowledge Minister Reilly and HSE head Dr Tony O’Brien had about the commissioning of this report, the company that was chosen to do the work, the hospital group’s involvement with the company and the remit of the review.”
The senator added: “This controversial report, which the HSE and the Health Minister sought to keep secret for as long as possible, has caused major disruption and dismay among patients and those involved in maternity services in the West and North West. We need to hear from both the Chairman and the Chief Executive of the hospital group and from the Minister for Health immediately to clarify what exactly is going on.”