Maternity wards not using early warning system
on 19/02/2013 00:00:00
Ms Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant and was miscarrying when she was admitted to UCG's maternity unit. A report on how staff at the hospital responded to her deteriorating condition is imminent.
Health Minister James Reilly said the National Early Warning Score, which has reduced deaths and improved medical outcomes, would be extended to paediatric and maternity hospitals.
Eilish Croke is heading the project and said systems would have been in place at UCG for surgical and medical patients in October, when Ms Halappanavar was a patient in its maternity unit.
Ms Croke said hospitals began implementing the system in 2011 and all were expected to be using it by year-end.
Hilary Humphreys, chair of the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee, said the system would improve patient care and eliminate inconsistency.
Chief medical officer Tony Holohan said the alarm system showed that lessons had been learnt from a number of significant patient safety incidents in recent years.
The head of the HSE's obstetric programme, Michael Turner, said the current early warning system could not just be taken off the shelf and used to treat a pregnant patient, as physiological changes resulting from pregnancy had to be taken into account when drawing up guidelines.
He said plans were well advanced for the introduction of a maternity early warning system, which would be introduced in the country's 19 maternity units, 15 of which are attached to acute hospitals.
"As part of our implementation we intend to roll out a multidisciplinary programme over the next 12 months," he said.