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Dáil Éireann - Private Members Business (Sinn Féin)
Wednesday 3 May 2017

“That Dáil Éireann:


— that since 2011, maternity services in Ireland have been marked with investigations and, in some cases, alleged cover ups of maternal and child mortality or injury in Portiuncula as well as University Hospital Galway, Portlaoise, Cavan, and Drogheda;

— that Ireland has the lowest number of consultant obstetricians per 100,000 women in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and a consultant obstetrician in Ireland is responsible for 597 births per annum, compared to 268 in Scotland;

— that the three Dublin maternity hospitals are operating at a 17 per cent deficit in the number of midwifery staff needed to run the services;

— that most of the 19 maternity units do not offer foetal anomaly screening, as prenatal ultrasound assessments by qualified sonographers and foetal medicine specialists are not available outside larger units;

— that, despite the enactment of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, there is a dearth of perinatal psychiatrists and other specialists;

— the serious inequalities and absence of resources which exist within the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide services to children with life-limiting and complex medical needs, and to those under palliative care; and

— that such shortcomings have directly led to tragic incidents involving mothers and children;

acknowledges and supports the findings of:

— the National Maternity Strategy, Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions in Ireland – A National Policy by the Department of Health, the HSE National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death, and the Report on End of Life and Palliative Care in Ireland by the Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2014; and

— the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services Report by the Health Information and Quality Authority submitted to the Minister for Health;

further acknowledges:

— that the Programme for a Partnership Government states it will implement the National Maternity Strategy and ‘invest in end of life care, including the provision of hospice and “end of life care” during the perinatal period, infancy, childhood and adulthood’;

— the need for continuity of care for women and parents during pregnancy, at the point of delivery and after birth, inclusive of where children have life-limiting conditions;

— the need to support bereaved parents in their transition out of hospital, with appropriate services and the availability of frontline bereavement counselling;

— that the above is best delivered by medical teams basing their decisions on best medical practice and not in any way beholden to any religious ethos; and

— the plans to move the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street to new, modern facilities at St. Vincent’s Hospital campus; and

calls on the Government to:

— honour commitments in the Programme for a Partnership Government in respect of funding and implementing the National Maternity Strategy;

— ensure that the new National Maternity Hospital is built on the St. Vincent’s Hospital campus as quickly as possible, remains entirely within public ownership and has legally guaranteed independence from all non-medical influence in its clinical operations within the laws of the State;

— ensure swift approval, dissemination and implementation of the National Maternity Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services;

— ensure all maternity hospitals have access to foetal anomaly screening, with the requisite staff and equipment;

— work with nursing and medical unions in the recruitment and retention of medical staff, so that all maternity hospitals meet the Birthrate Plus standard for midwifery staffing, as well as international standards for consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists;

— establish an independent patient advocacy service; and

— implement the recommendations of the Report on End of Life and Palliative Care in Ireland by the Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2014, prioritising those parts relating to care for children with life-limiting conditions.” — Louise O'Reilly, Gerry Adams, Pat Buckley, John Brady, David Cullinane, Seán Crowe, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin J. Ferris, Kathleen Funchion, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Imelda Munster, Denise Mitchell, Carol Nolan, Jonathan O'Brien, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Maurice Quinlivan, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín.


[27 April, 2017]