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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 16 Dec 1997

Vol. 485 No. 2

Written Answers. - Maternity Services.

Alan Shatter


232 Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the measures, if any, he is taking to ensure that maternity services will meet future needs in view of the predicted increase in the birth rate. [23017/97]

I am aware that the maternity hospitals are experiencing an increase in obstetric activity in the current year. The increase in the birth rate is at variance with earlier predictions which forecast a levelling out in the number of births in the years from 1996 onwards. This increase in the number of births together with an increase in the requirements for related services, for example, post operative complications, epidurals, paediatric follow up, has placed additional pressure on maternity hospitals.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I recently allocated an additional £1 million to maternity hospitals to enable them to cope with this year's increased obstetric activity. Health boards and voluntary hospitals have recently been notified of their financial determination for 1998 and are now in the course of preparing service plans for the coming year. The level of service to be provided within the financial determination will be the subject of early discussion with health agencies on submission of these service plans.
The Deputy can be assured that I am committed to the provision of a quality maternity service.