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Maternity Services Provision

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 21 February 2017

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Ceisteanna (488)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

488. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health if he will ensure that every woman and baby has the right to high-quality care (details supplied); if he will further ensure that the governance of women’s health services is robust, independent and secure and not targeted for cuts by having a ring-fenced budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8649/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I can assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to the progressive development of maternity services. Indeed, in the last 12 months alone we have launched the National Maternity Strategy, the HSE National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death and the HIQA National Standards for Safe Better Maternity Services. In addition, each of our 19 maternity hospitals/units is now publishing Maternity Patient Safety Statements on a monthly basis. Such initiatives represent essential building blocks to provide a consistently safe and high quality maternity service.

I share the Deputy's desire for robust maternity service governance structures, and to this end a National Women & Infants Health Programme (NWIHP) has been established within the HSE to lead the management, organisation and delivery of maternity, gynaecological and neonatal services. The Programme will ensure the consistent delivery of high quality care in these services and oversee the development of Maternity Networks. The Maternity Strategy provides that all development funding for maternity services will be ring-fenced and allocated through the NWIHP. Thus the Programme will facilitate greater oversight and support for service providers and ensure the appropriate allocation and targeting of new resources. It is expected that the establishment of Maternity Networks across Hospital Groups will assist in the development of a sustainable service model that ensures that all women within each Hospital Group can access a full range of maternity-related services.

The Strategy will be implemented on an incremental basis, and work in this regard is ongoing. €3 million development funding provided for maternity services in 2016 was allocated in line with the Strategy and included funding for additional staff, including 100 midwives, the development of specialist bereavement teams and for the implementation of the Maternal and Newborn Clinical Management System. Increased funding of €6.8m will be provided for maternity services in 2017 which will provide for the continued implementation of the Strategy. My Department has asked the NWIHP to develop and submit a detailed Implementation Plan as a priority.

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