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Under provision of obstetricians must be tackled - Ó Caoláin

26 January, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Minister for Health to address the concerns of pregnant mothers and ensure that Ireland reaches the highest safety standards for those preparing for and going through childbirth. The husbands of the two mothers who died in childbirth at Sligo Regional Hospital are today meeting with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. There have also been concerns raised about services at Portiuncula Hospital in Co Galway following the deaths of two babies and oxygen deprivation to five others.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“The families of mothers and newborns who were lost in the course of childbirth, must be provided with answers. Expectant mothers due to give birth in these hospitals must also be reassured that care is of the highest standard. Many of the problems highlighted point to a lack of continuity in consultant care.

“We know for many years now that Ireland has some of the lowest rates of obstetricians among OECD countries, which is particularly bad in the west of the country. We also have had a high birth rate over the past number of years and require a large increase in the numbers of qualified senior doctors.

“The Minister has said that it is unclear whether medical negligence was involved in the care of seven babies who have shown evidence of oxygen deprivation. Various deficiencies have been highlighted in the way care was provided. These must be addressed urgently.

“Resourcing of maternity units must also be investigated to ensure it is adequate. However, we cannot address many of the concerns of mothers until the root problem of underprovision of obstetricians is dealt with.” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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