St Monica’s Ward, a main gynaecology ward in Galway University Hospital has been closed for weeks now.
Galway Independent deputy Catherine Connolly told Midwest News today that its closure came as a complete shock to her and she has raised this matter with the hospital, and has also raised it in the Dáil with the Minister for Health.
Almost a year ago Deputy Connolly brought a motion before the Dáil, following a HIQA report which expressed serious concern about the tardy implementation of the National Maternity Strategy, which spans the period 2016 – 2026.
Deputy Connolly says that now, over 6 years into the Strategy, to find that the main gynaecology ward in University Hospital Galway has been closed for weeks without explanation, is completely unacceptable.
In a response from the HSE this afternoon to deputy Connolly hospital management has confirmed that St Monica’s ward closed on the 23 March last (2022), explaining that the decision to close the ward was based on low staffing levels within the ward and department.
The statement goes on to explain that “the women attending St Monica’s ward for treatment are now based on St Angela’s postnatal ward. Experienced staff from St Monica’s ward are continuing to provide care to these women while women who have experienced a fetal loss are being cared for on St Catherines Antenatal ward by experienced midwives.
There have been no gynaecology surgeries cancelled due to ward closure or bed capacity since the closure of St Monica’s ward.
There are ongoing discussions and plans to look at reopening some capacity on St Monica’s ward. The reopening of the whole ward will be delayed until safe staffing is available. The Maternity Department along with the Hospital have an extensive recruitment drive in progress.
Midwives and Nurses from overseas are being recruited and following an adaptation programme will be fully registered with the NMBI and employed in UHG.
However there are challenges in relation to the recruitment of midwives which is a national and international issue”.