Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (139)

Mick Wallace

Question:

139. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health his plans to address the midwife shortage at Wexford General Hospital where the ratio of midwives to births stands at 1:47, which is significantly above the internationally recommended midwife to birth ratio of 1:29.5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14903/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has the authority to appoint additional frontline staff to ensure the provision of safe care. While the numbers employed across the public service must be reduced in order to meet fiscal and budgetary targets, it is recognised that certain services, such as maternity, are demand led and require specialist staffing. Arrangements are in place in the HSE to allow the recruitment of such staff where it has been established that there is an urgent service requirement.

The Deputy may wish to note that a Midwifery Workforce Planning Project has been established within the HSE to examine the current levels of midwifery staffing and healthcare assistants and recommend appropriate staffing levels and or initiatives to improve skill mix. The Project Group recently held its first meeting; it is expected that the review, when finalised, will assist in determining the midwifery skill mix/workforce requirements in the future for Wexford General Hospital.