Opposition TDs have called for Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to return from the UN General Assembly due to ongoing concerns over “serious spinal surgical incidents” in Temple Street.
Mr Donnelly was in New York when the HSE commissioned an external review into orthopaedic surgery at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Temple Street following a number of “serious spinal surgical incidents”.
It's emerged 19 children suffered significant complications after surgery, with senior hospital management made aware of patient safety concerns in late 2022.
Mr Donnelly said he wants “a detailed explanation” in this review about the circumstances of these surgical complications.
“The Chief Clinical Officer who I've been talking to this morning, wants a very detailed, very detailed understanding of this as well,” he said.
“As the father of three children myself, it is unspeakable – it is absolutely heartbreaking and devastating.”
'A time of growing concern'
Labour leader Ivana Bacik said Mr Donnelly should speak on the matter in the Dáil immediately.
“I think it's most unfortunate to say the least, that we're seeing not only the three leaders of the three Government parties in New York today for the first day of back of the Dáil, but also the Health Minister at a time when there is such a growing concern around the controversy in children's orthopaedic surgery,” she said.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin said Mr Donnelly can complete his duties from New York and should still attend international health summits as planned.
“For the opposition, I would acknowledge there is a level of concern to them,” he said.
“But juxtaposing [Mr Donnelly’s] presence at the health summits with the implied suggestion that that means he isn’t attending to the issue is unfair.”