Reports suggesting that some hospitals in the West are to lose their maternity services are purely speculative. The position is that in the context of the implementation of the recommendations of the HIQA Report into the death of Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway, and the Report on the establishment of Hospital Groups, the West/North West Hospital Group undertook a review of maternity services within the Group. The review included the maternity units at Mayo General Hospital, University Hospital Galway, Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe, Sligo Regional Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital. While the review presents various options for service reconfiguration, I understand that the review does not recommend any particular option, nor indeed the closure of any maternity unit.
My Department is currently developing a new National Strategy for Maternity Services which will determine the optimal configuration of maternity services to ensure that women in Ireland have access to safe, high quality maternity care in a setting most appropriate to their needs. As part of the development of the Strategy, all maternity services in the country will be reviewed and evaluated. Any decision on maternity service reconfiguration will be considered in the context of the National Strategy, and therefore on a national rather than on a local basis. In these circumstances I can assure the Deputy that no decisions on service reconfiguration will be implemented without my agreement nor in advance of the publication of the proposed National Maternity Strategy. It is intended to publish the Strategy later this year.