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Government must get serious about maternity services - Louise O'Reilly TD

19 June, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking on a motion on maternity services in the Dáil this evening, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly used the opportunity to call for the government to stop playing fast-and-loose with maternity services and deliver on commitments made to improve the service.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“There are areas of our maternity services where we need to see substantial change and solutions.

“Women are still being denied a basic 20-week anomaly scan used to identify anomalies in the development of the baby. Such scans allow the mother as well as medical professionals to make necessary medical plans.

“The health service needs to address the equipment or the staffing deficits which obstruct the ability to deliver this service.

“We also need to expand the new-born screening programme to guarantee that every child born in this State has the right to be screened at birth for any disease for which there is a viable treatment – not only would this be relatively cheap to do, but it would save families a lot of suffering and it would save the health service millions in the long run.

“Staffing levels are another huge barrier to improving maternity services – we have just two midwifery-led units in place, we are 200 midwives below the recommended safety-levels in the National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026, while also having the third lowest number of obstetricians per capita in the OECD.

“There are many aspects of our maternity services which work very well, but there are also significant areas where we need to see change.

"Delivering this change is non-negotiable and we need to see the political will and the necessary funding from the government to deliver this change to ensure we have a maternity service that is worthy of our women."

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