Is the publication of the Walsh Report into Symphysiotomy in Ireland imminent?
On Tuesday 16th July Kerry South TD Michael Healy-Rae received a written answer from Minister James Reilly to a Parliamentary Question about meetings related to symphysiotomy involving Health Service Executive (HSE) officials.
In response to the Deputy’s question, which sought the details, number and agenda of these meetings, the Minister for Health stated that any meetings the HSE may have had in relation to symphysiotomy in Ireland were a matter for itself and that he would forward the Deputy’s question to the Executive.
The Minister denied that his Department had been in discussions with any one group and said he was committed to meeting representatives of ‘the symphysiotomy support groups’ prior to the publication of the Walsh report.
Dr Reilly said he and his Department were studying the conclusions of the Walsh Report, which they had received at the end of May and that he was anxious to ensure that survivors received ‘appropriate treatment’. The report, he said, would inform the Government’s consideration of this matter.
In June 2012, the draft report effectively found that 97 per cent of symphysiotomies performed were medically acceptable and that the issue of consent to medical intervention was not a legal requirement in Ireland.
The Minister’s reply to to Deputy Healy-Rae’s PQ is as follows:
Question of Michael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent) | Oireachtas source 1062.
To ask the Minister for Health the meetings that took place between the Health Service Executive with regards to symphysiotomy; the details of the meetings; the number of meetings; the agenda of such meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34459/13]
Response by James Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source
My Department received the independent Report into Symphysiotomy in Ireland at the end of May and it was submitted to me shortly after that. Both myself and my Department’s officials have been studying its conclusions.
The Report is the result of considerable work by the author and includes both academic research and consultation on this research involving patient groups, health professionals and in particular, women who had undergone symphysiotomy.
I am anxious to ensure appropriate treatment for these women. The finalised report will inform the Government’s overall consideration of this matter including any actions that may be required in response to its recommendations, or any legal implications.
I will brief Government on the report shortly, so that it may decide on the next steps, with the aim of bringing closure to the issue for the women involved.
I have also made a commitment to meet representatives of the symphysiotomy support groups once the Government has made a decision on the matter and prior to the publication of the report. Contrary to media reports, the Department has not been in discussion with one particular group about the issue.
The information requested by the Deputy regarding any meetings that the Health Service Executive may have had in relation to symphysiotomy is a matter for the Executive.
Accordingly, I have forwarded this request to the Executive for direct response.
Oireachtas source 1062