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Written Answers - Hospital Procedures

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 472.  Deputy Gerald Nash Information on Gerald Nash Zoom on Gerald Nash  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  when the review into the practice of symphysiotomy will be made available to survivors of the procedure and their representatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23844/12]

 481.  Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  when he intends to publish the report from the independent academic researcher who was appointed to complete a report into the practice of symphysiotomy here. [23920/12]

 487.  Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  when the Symphysiotomy Report will be made available to those directly affected and when the report will be published. [23943/12]

 492.  Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  when the Symphysiotomy Report will be published as there are many women who are anxiously awaiting its publication; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24039/12]

 500.  Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  when the victims of symphysiotomy may expect to have the report on symphysiotomy made available to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24101/12]

 508.  Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  the reason for the delay in the publication of the report on symphysiotomy; and when it will be made available to the survivors. [24140/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 472, 481, 487, 492, 500 and 508 together.

My Department has received a draft report from the independent academic researcher who was appointed to complete a report into the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland. As I outlined in the Dáil Statement on 15 March 2012, the specific scope of the report that the researcher has been given is to:

1. a) Document the rates of symphysiotomy and maternal mortality in Ireland from 1940 to date by reference to available data (including annual reports and other reports);

b) Assess symphysiotomy rates against maternal mortality rates over the period.

[490]2. Critically appraise international reviews of symphysiotomy practice and associated rates in a number of comparable countries in the world and in Ireland.

3. Review any guidelines and protocols that applied in Ireland on symphysiotomy over the time period.

4. Write a report based on the findings of the above analysis providing an accurate picture of the extent of use of symphysiotomy in Ireland, and an examination of the Irish experience relative to other countries.

I asked the Attorney General to consider the draft research report and I have recently received her advice. There is no legal impediment to publishing the research with certain clarifications included. In line with best practice on research, a peer review process has been initiated. I propose to make the draft research report available for consultation this month. Following the consultation process with relevant individuals and bodies and the outcome of the peer review, the report will be finalised by the academic researcher and published by my Department. I also understand that there may be court proceedings pending in respect of women who underwent this procedure. The consultation process will need to take account of such proceedings in order to ensure that nothing is done that might impede these cases pending.

I am determined to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion for all women concerned as soon as possible. I am very conscious of the distress that this procedure has caused to a number of women in the past and recognise the pain that this issue has caused to those affected by it. The Government is committed to dealing with this matter sensitively, so that if at all possible, closure can be brought to those affected by it.


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