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Anger at cuts to midwife led maternity unit

20 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Upper Bann MLA John O Dowd has said that the significant reduction in staffing levels in the Midwifery Led Unit in Craigavon area Hospital is 'complete madness'.

Cllr O'Dowd said:

"Sinn Féin are concerned at this staff reduction and the matter has been raised with us by local parents, some of whom have had babies delivered in the midwife led maternity unit (MLU) and expectant mothers who would be keen to use its services in the near future.

"The MLU was set-up in 2000 and since has been both nationally and internationally recognised for its work and the dedication of its staff, it is a Unit the entire Health Service can and must be proud of. People are angry at these cuts.

"Staff and patients are at a loss to see how this change can be justified on either clinical or financial grounds. As the local branch of the Chid Birth Trust correctly state 'the local community is extremely proud of the unit, particularly due to its uniqueness within Ireland. It provides a model for the proposed Community Midwifery Units, as announced by the Minister in July past'.

"I have written to both Chief Executive of the Hospital and Health Minister Angela Smith urging them to ensure staffing levels at the MLU are restored and the future of the Unit is secured. This unit is unique on the island of Ireland it would be complete madness to disrupt staffing levels or damage the future of the unit in any way." ENDS

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