HOSPITALS in the North East are being closely monitored by the State’s health and safety watchdog following a “flurry of concerns”.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is monitoring the quality and safety of services provided by the hospitals in the region.
The major acute hospital being monitored is Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, while the linked regional hospitals are Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Navan.
The Chief Executive of HIQA, Dr Tracey Cooper, told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on Thursday, January 19 that every month or so the authority had a large team inspect the hospitals.
HIQA told management to provide the authority with quality improvement plans, instead of shutting down services and holding an investigation.
The committee heard from Dr Cooper that HIQA would order a full investigation if it had serious concerns or was not receiving full co-operation from the hospital.
Dr Cooper said the authority had not recommended the closure of any hospital and that it recognised the economic and fiscal challenges facing the health system at the moment.
She added what their reasonable expectation of providers should be as a result. Hospitals in the Mid West are also being monitored by HIQA.
The hospitals include the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick as well as the linked regional hospitals - St John’s (Limerick), Nenagh and Ennis.
Dr Cooper said HIQA was working closely with the Special Delivery Unit, which was recently established, to try to improve systems and safety of patients.
She added that a report on the emergency department at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin is due to be published in February or March, which will impact how hospitals across the country are run.