HIQA report finds UHK anaesthesiology resources not in line with national recommendations

A report has found anaesthesiology medical staff resources at University Hospital Kerry were not in line with national recommendations.

The Health Information and Quality Authority initially inspected the maternity unit at UHK in October 2018 and a follow-up inspection was carried out in August 2019.

The report found that hospital management had successfully addressed the majority of risks identified by HIQA by the time the follow-up inspection took place.

However, it outlined a number of issues still need to be addressed.

Both inspections found the anaesthesiology medical staff resources at UHK were not in line with national recommendations for hospitals with co-located maternity units.

It outlined that sometimes women experienced delays in receiving epidural anaesthesia, if the anaesthesiologist was busy elsewhere in the hospital.

The report also noted the level of anaesthetic cover at the hospital, outside of core working hours, presented a potential risk to safety where immediate attendance by an anaesthesiologist may be required at two or more coinciding emergencies.

Despite the progress made in the governance, leadership and management at UHK, HIQA believes two significant concerns still remain; these concerns related to the director of midwifery not being a member of the hospital’s Executive Management Board and concerns of the control of midwifery and nursing staffing resources in the maternity unit.

The report also notes that by the follow-up inspection, work constructing a maternity unit on the same floor as the operating theatre department had not commenced with no timeframe for this work available.

Concerns surrounding the lack of maternity assistants employed was also outlined in the report, which resulted in midwives restocking supplies in the Labour Ward; this was found to impact on their time spent caring for women and newborns.