Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Questions (524, 525)

Matt Carthy

Question:

524. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Health if the midwife-led maternity service at Cavan General Hospital will be protected and enhanced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12417/20]

View answer

Matt Carthy

Question:

525. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Health his plans to restore maternity services to Monaghan General Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12418/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 524 and 525 together.

Firstly, I would like to be clear that the Government is fully committed to the ongoing implementation of the National Maternity Strategy. The Strategy is evidence based, in line with international norms and was informed by the voices of women from across the country, drawn from the 1,324 responses received during the public consultation process. Outlined in the Strategy is a new model of care for maternity services with three care pathways - Supported, Assisted and Specialised - ensuring that women receive the right care, from the right professional, at the right time in the right place. In line with that model of care, pregnant women deemed to be at normal risk will be offered, and encouraged to avail of, care in the Supported Care pathway. Key to realising this goal is the development and expansion of community midwifery services, as recommended in the Strategy.

Good progress has been made since the Strategy’s publication in 2016, with midwifery led and community-based services increasingly available across the country. On Friday 5th of June last the National Women & Infants Health Programme applied for a drawdown of new development funding which is being provided for maternity services in 2020. This funding request was approved on 10th June and will facilitate the further development of community midwifery services around the country. The drawdown approval specifically includes funding for an Advanced Midwifery Practitioner in Cavan General Hospital to provide additional senior midwifery expertise and capability and enable the further expansion of community midwifery services for the benefit of women in Cavan and Monaghan.

Neither I, nor my Department, were advised of any intended change in relation to maternity services at the hospital. It is clear that any cessation or diminution of midwifery led services is not in line with the recommendations of the Strategy. My Department has requested, and is awaiting, a full report from the National Women & Infants Health Programme regarding the MLU in Cavan. The Programme has advised that a review is underway within the RCSI Hospital Group, led by the Group Clinical Director for Maternity Services in conjunction with the Directors of Midwifery from Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda and the Rotunda Hospitals. My Department has sought assurances that any proposals, emanating from the RCSI review, will serve to ensure the future of the MLU in Cavan and that it will operate in line with the National Maternity Strategy.

Once the full report has been received, my Department will work with the National Women & Infants Health Programme to ensure that any additional supports which are required to secure the future of community midwifery services in Cavan, will be put in place. This will ensure that the choice of the Supported Care pathway remains available to women attending CGH for maternity services.