Press Release

Publication of the Report of the Panel reviewing the events surrounding the death of Róisín Ruddle

The Report of the Panel reviewing the events surrounding the death of Róisín Ruddle was published today (10th February 2005).

Publishing the Report, Mary Harney TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, said that her thoughts were very much with Róisín’s parents and extended family at this time.  “They have already had to come to terms with the tragedy of Róisín’s unexpected death, and the publication of this Report will recall in stark detail all the trauma of that time.  I would ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.

The Report found that “if Róisín’s operation had gone ahead as planned on 30th June [2003], the likelihood of her survival would have been greater”, and that “the fundamental reason behind the deferral of Róisín’s surgery was the inability of Our Lady’s Hospital to recruit / retain sufficient experienced nursing staff to support the available ICU beds”.

Commenting on the Report, the Tánaiste said: “What is important now is that we learn from the past and make sure that we do everything to ensure that all the ICU beds at Our Lady’s Hospital are available to those children who need critical care.”

“I have met with the Hospital’s Chief Executive and the Director of Nursing,” the Tánaiste said, “and they have assured me that key recommendations in the Report have already been acted upon, including

  • The appointment of a full-time nurse manager to manage nursing recruitment and retention
  • The appointment of a clinical bed manager
  • The establishment of links with similar institutions outside of the country to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experience

and that the remaining recommendations will receive the Hospital’s urgent attention.  I have full confidence in the ability of the Hospital management, and its clinicians, to address the issues raised in the Report and to work to deliver on the recommendations applicable to the Hospital’s internal organization.”

One of the Report’s recommendations is that the overall training period required to become a fully-qualified children’s ICU nurse be re-examined.  The Tánaiste said that every avenue to make children’s nursing an attractive option must be explored. One of the difficulties has been filling the existing training places for children’s nurses.

The Tánaiste said that the Expert Group on Midwifery and Children’s Nursing Education had recently reported to her. She said that one of its recommendations, the introduction of a direct entry undergraduate programme for combined children’s/general nursing lasting 4 ½ years, must be implemented.  “We also need to reduce the length of the existing post-registration programme for qualification as a children’s nurse.  These measures will reduce the time taken to qualify as a children’s nurse and should increase the numbers coming through the system.”

The Tánaiste will shortly be announcing how the Report of the Expert Group on Midwifery and Children’s Nursing Education can best be implemented.  She welcomed the fact that the Hospital has already established links with similar institutions outside of the country and she would encourage them to explore this option for courses in specialist and expert practice.


Report of the Panel established to conduct an independent review of the events surrounding the death of Róisín Ruddle – February 2005

ERHA Report – July 2003 (on the events surrounding the deferral of Róisín Ruddle’s surgery)