Dispute delaying Holles Street abortion investigation goes to mediation

A mediator is to be appointed in a last-ditch effort to resolve disagreements that have delayed by seven months the investigation of an abortion carried out at the National Maternity Hospital last year.

The abortion was conducted on the basis of a diagnosis that the child was likely to die before or shortly after birth, but a subsequent test showed the baby had been perfectly healthy.

The couple have objected to the composition of the review panel proposed by the hospital and have argued the investigating team should comprise experts who have no previous professional links to hospital staff, such as consultants from continental Europe.

The hospital has rejected this proposal, though it has agreed that the couple be allowed to nominate additional experts to the review panel. There have also been disagreements over the provision of medical records in their entirety which have been complicated by difficulties providing printed and complete copies of the woman’s electronic health file.

The mediator, expected to be a prominent senior barrister, will begin work on the case shortly.