asked the Minister for Health whether he will consider making the necessary arrangements to permit the doctor chosen by an intending mother under the Health Acts to attend her during her confinement where this confinement for medical reasons must be carried out in a district or cottage hospital.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Maternity Services.
I have already given careful consideration to the suggestion that private doctors who have entered into agreements with local health authorities for the provision of maternity medical services under the Health Acts should have access to maternity beds in district hospitals. These hospitals are under the control of local authorities, each hospital having its own medical officer with the duty and responsibility of providing services for all patients, including maternity patients, admitted to the hospital, and there would be serious practical and legal difficulties in allowing private doctors the right to attend maternity patients in them. Consequently, I am unable to approve of such an arrangement.
As to other hospitals not under local authority control, it will be appreciated that I am not in a position to influence the policy of such hospitals regarding the right of access by doctors to attend confinements of patients admitted to these hospitals.