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Proposal on Maternity services needs to be abandoned

6 October, 2009 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin MLA and vice chair of the health committee Michelle O Neill has stated that the proposal to send new mothers home six to twelve hours after giving birth must be abandoned.

Speaking today Ms O Neill said:

“The proposal from the Belfast Trust to send new mothers home only six hours after giving birth will impact on the level of care and front line service provision which will affect new mothers adversely.

“Support for parents should be responsive to the parents’ needs. Some women will be keen to go home as soon as possible after a straightforward birth. However many new mums feel they need support and assistance from midwives to help them cope with those first few hours or days to bond with their baby.

“Many first time mothers need care and assistance with the dramatic and life changing event of having a baby and both nurses and midwives are the best to provide this first hand in the ward.

“Alongside this, vulnerable mothers with little support structures at home may need time in the ward. Mothers who do not choose to leave hospital so soon after the birth should be offered the chance to stay longer. No woman should be sent home before she feels ready.

“The North of Ireland is lagging behind our European counterparts in pre-natal and post-natal care and this proposal will further undermine these services.

“Michael McGimpsey needs to act on this and see that this proposal is binned. The story today is the cut in maternity services yet let’s not forget the commitments made that a new state-of-the-art hospital for women and children hospital would be built at the RVH. How can the Health Minister square this circle?”

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