Press Release

Statement from the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, on the report into the death of Mr Patrick Joe Walsh

Commenting on the report into the death of Mr Patrick Joe Walsh, the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today said, “I wish to convey again my sympathies to the extended Walsh family on the death of Mr Pat Joe Walsh. I also wish to extend my apologies as Minister for Health and Children to them for the circumstances in which his death occurred. I know that this report cannot capture the pain and loss being experienced by the Walsh family but I hope it provides answers to their questions.”

“The manner in which Mr Pat Joe Walsh died in Monaghan General Hospital on 14 October 2005 cannot be without consequences. The Independent report by Mr Declan Carey and Professor John Monson details an intolerable breach of acceptable patient care by not ensuring his transfer from Monaghan to either Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda or Cavan General Hospital. It identified a shocking level of dysfunction embedded in the day to day operation of hospitals in the North East. The absence of cooperation and lack of solidarity among some clinicians in the North East and between some clinicians and management has put patients at risk. It also exposes a failure in communications between the hospitals in the region. It is impossible to ensure acceptable standards of patient care in such circumstances.”

“It is also important to acknowledge that many people involved in the care of the late Mr Walsh carried out their jobs in a totally professional manner.”

“It is entirely correct that this report should be forwarded by the HSE to the Medical Council for their consideration.”

“The role and function of a hospital and all who work in it is to deliver the best patient care possible. Positive patient outcomes are the yardstick by which we measure our success. Clearly this did not happen in the case of the late Mr Walsh. I fully endorse the recommendation by Mr Carey and Professor Monson that all the relevant stakeholders “pause and ensure a clear refocusing on the core values of patient care”.”

“The Health Service Executive has appointed a North East Project Group. It will use the report by Mr Carey and Professor Monson and the recent report on the North East “Improved Safety and Better Standards” to implement measures designed to achieve better and safer patient care for patients in the North East.”

“I have requested a monthly report from the HSE on the measures being taken to ensure better patient care in the North East. I intend to forward these reports to the Oireachtas Health Committee.”