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Sinn Féin has a plan to improve maternity services - Mary Lou McDonald

15 February, 2016 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in response to today’s media reports outlining grave concerns around the hygiene and capacity levels in the National Maternity Hospital, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said:

“News of a HIQA inspection of the National Maternity Hospital in Holles St which showed severe overcrowding and serious hygiene issues is shocking, but yet unsurprising.

“Ask any woman who has spent time in one of our maternity hospitals and she will tell you how a lack of space and a lack of resources has led to a situation whereby our maternity hospitals operate well over capacity and at a level which is not only contrary to best practice but is quite frankly dangerous.

“The sector has been traditionally underfunded over the last 20 years and Ireland is lagging behind international standards. This has led to tragedies that include deaths in healthcare settings across the State. Since 2012, four hospitals, Portlaoise, Galway, Sligo and Cavan, have been investigated following deaths and neonatal deaths.

“Our maternity services are severely understaffed, lacking both midwives and obstetricians. The INMO says that more than 600 midwives need to be recruited to achieve basic safety levels and it was also shown last year that Ireland has the lowest number of obstetricians per 100,000 women across all OECD countries.

“This is not a new problem. Successive governments have failed to take action on this issue. I can only surmise that decades of male-dominated government just don’t see the benefit of a working maternitysystem. We want to change that.

“We have a plan for Ireland’s maternity services which would place women and babies at its centre. We would recruit 621 midwives required to bring hospitals up to basic safety levels as well as measures to alleviate overcrowding by minimising unnecessary interventions and expanding Midwife Led Units for low-risk pregnancies. We would also recruit an additional 239 obstetricians/gynaecologists, which would double the number in service.

“No other party deems this issue a priority. I am proud to stand for a party that believes women’s health matters.”

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