Statement by the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD in relation to X-Rays at Tallaght Hospital
The Minister said, “Patients have a right to expect the highest standards of diagnosis and treatment at all stages of their care in hospital. In particular, patients are entitled to expect that clinical standards in radiology are consistently implemented in our hospitals.
In this instance, the hospital management identified a practice that was below the clinical standards we expect.
The priority now is that the remainder of the backlog of X-Rays is cleared, so that concerned patients can be reassured as soon as possible.
I have been informed that patients’ X-Rays would have been seen by doctors involved in their care. However, X-Rays would normally also be seen, and formally reported on, by a consultant radiologist. Since that does not appear to have happened, all the relevant X-rays are being examined by consultant radiologists on a precautionary basis.
In the case of any patient where a review of their diagnosis or care is needed as a result of the review of X-rays, all the necessary services will be made available immediately.
The new HSE Director of Clinical Care, Dr Barry White, is now working closely with the hospital to achieve this. The HSE will meet clinicians from the hospital tomorrow to examine ways of ensuring that all outstanding X-Rays are examined as a matter of priority.
My Department has worked with the HSE on the development of a serious incident management protocol and I expect it to guide the management of this issue. This protocol puts patients’ interests first and foremost in all actions to be taken.
This incident will be fully assessed by the HSE and they will make all the relevant information available to my Department’s Chief Medical Officer, as part of our ongoing work to ensure highest standards of patient safety.