Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told TDs today he first learned there was a potential issue with patient safety in Temple Street Children’s Hospital last November.
Speaking on the spinal surgery scandal in the Dáil this evening, Mr Donnelly said he first became aware of a serious incident with patient safety at Temple Street Hospital in November 2022.
“In November of last year, my department was notified the two serious Patient Safety incidences had occurred in Temple Street Hospital,” he said.
“These incidences were notified to my Department, which in turn, alerts me and provides assurance that reviews and open disclosure are underway.”
Mr Donnelly said the Department of Health typically receives “20 to 30 of these alerts in any given year”.
“These reviews of serious incidences give important answers and clarity for patients and for families about what has happened,” he said.
“They often identify ways in which the health service can learn and thereby continue to improve patient safety right across the board.”
A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said the first time Leo Varadkar learned of patient safety issues in Temple Street was in a question from TD Paul Murphy this July.
Labour Health Spokesperson Duncan Smith said Mr Donnelly’s statement on patient safety issues “was utterly disappointing”.
“He didn’t say anything today that he couldn’t have said last week when this scandal emerged,” he said.
“It’s hard to emphasise just how let down these families feel. It is, almost without peer, one of the worst scandals that has emerged in the health service.
“Children suffering from spina bifida, scoliosis and related conditions have been let down by an under-resourced healthcare system for too many years.”