maternity services

  • A Mayo TD has described maternity facilities in some hospitals across the country as unacceptable.

    Fianna Fail Deputy Lisa Chambers was speaking during a Private Members Motion in the Dail yesterday.

    She said that the difficulty in obtaining foetal anomaly scans was a huge problem, and it can be a postcode lottery with inconsistencies across the country.

    Deputy Chambers said that staffing levels are still much lower than they should be.

    In response Minister for Health Simon Harris said that funding is being made available to hire 28 new sonographers to read scans to provide 100% access to the anomaly scans. He also said that all 19 maternity units in the country will offer full access to the anomaly scanning by the end of this year.

  • A report into maternity services at Portiuncula University Hospital has identified multiple serious failures - including staffing issues, a lack of training and poor communication among maternity staff.

    The long-delayed report, which was commissioned in January 2015, examined the delivery and neonatal care of 18 babies at the Galway hospital.

    Some of the babies died while others were left with life-long disabilities.

    The review team was chaired by Professor James Walker of Leeds University.

    The report is being published this evening in Ballinasloe, and, according to the Irish Times, it states that different management of obstetric care might have made a difference in 14 out of the 18 cases examined.

    Several cases involved failures to recognise pre-natal signs that there may be a problem with the birth including abnormal foetal heartbeats.

    There were also failures to expedite the delivery of the babies in several cases where potential problems were identified.

    The report says there was an understaffing of both midwives and consultants at the hospital “resulting in a lack of support in the acute area”.

    The report also identified several communication issues both internally between staff and between the hospital and families.

    The HSE apologised for the delay in issuing the report which was originally due in mid-2015.

    Prof Walker said the report is not about attributing blame but that staff and national agencies must accept their responsibilities for the incidents involved and for the solutions.

    He said that, since the start of the investigation, Portiuncula Hospital has begun to address many of the issues raised, and that significant progress has been made in this regard.