I propose to take Questions Nos. 656, 657 and 659 together.
As the House will be aware, a termination took place at the National Maternity Hospital in March of this year on the grounds that a condition incompatible with life was present. The couple involved have requested a review of their case.
My overriding concern as Minister for Health is for the couple involved and ensuring that questions regarding this incident are appropriately answered. As such, I support an independent and external review into this case. I have been advised that the National Maternity Hospital has commissioned such a review. I am sure that the Deputy would agree it is important to await the outcome of that review process, which will allow for a better understanding of what has occurred. It will also allow for any learning that may emerge to be disseminated throughout the health system. I can assure the Deputy and the House that any recommendations made by the review panel will be actioned by my Department, as well as the HSE in order to ensure that a similar incident does not occur again. My Department has also sought assurances from the National Maternity Hospital with regard to the safety and operation of the termination service, and it in turn has confirmed its compliance with the relevant legislation.
I have also met with the family to hear directly of their experiences. I and my officials are in ongoing correspondence with their representative.
Finally, with regard to the issue the Deputy raises with regard to the medical notes in this case, I understand that an ICT issue has arisen with regard to their availability as a paper copy. However, I have been advised that a technical solution to allow access to them is being pursued by the Hospital and it is hoped that this aspect of the matter will be resolved shortly. In any event, both the Hospital and my Department have offered to provide the family with access to these files via alternative electronic means.