Press Release

Arulkumaran report to be referred to the Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland

The Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has today noted the publication of the report into the death of Savita Halappanavar carried out under the chairmanship of Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran.

The report will be the subject of intense scrutiny in the Department of Health over a period of time but in his first reaction Minister Reilly said “I have serious concerns about what this report reveals. It is a hard-hitting report which spares nobody and doesn’t pull any punches. It lays bare a set of unacceptable factors that led to the tragic death of a young woman. We must study this report in great detail, learn the relevant lessons and consider how best to implement its recommendations”.

The Minister noted that the investigation identified key causal factors and contributory factors to this tragic outcome, in particular inadequate assessment and monitoring of the patient, failure to offer all management options to a patient experiencing inevitable miscarriage and non-adherence to clinical guidelines related to the prompt and effective management of sepsis.

The Minister indicated that he will be in a position to give his fullest response to the circumstances surrounding this tragedy when he also has the report being carried out by the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) and the Coroner’s Report. However the Minister has decided that Professor Sir Arulkumeran’s Report will be immediately referred to the Medical Council and to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for consideration.

Having discussed the matter with the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan has forwarded the Report to both bodies for their early consideration and advice on any action considered appropriate as the report raises several important issues in relation to professional practice.

In a separate development the Minister has also invited the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to meet him to discuss the implications of the Report. The Minister hopes that an early meeting can be arranged for consideration of the issues involved.

The Minister also expressed his deepest concern for Praveen Halappanavar and for the family of Savita Halappanavar. “They have had to endure a terrible loss that should never have occurred. We must all work together to ensure that the lessons are learned and implemented to prevent such a tragedy occurring again”.

The Minister thanked Professor Sir Arulkumaran and his colleagues for the considerable work involved in producing the report. “We were fortunate to have an international figure of such standing to ensure a report of lasting value for our health services”