Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (350)

Joan Collins


350. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if he has received a report from the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital to clarify the decision of the medical team not to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds that the pregnancy was not a fatal foetal abnormality. [5124/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Deputy is aware, the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was signed into law by the President on 20 December 2018, and services for termination of pregnancy commenced on 1 January 2019.

I am aware of the case to which the Deputy refers; however, it would not be appropriate for me, as Minister for Health, to comment on any individual case.

I am advised that the Coombe Hospital is currently providing terminations in emergency situations and in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. It is due to begin providing terminations up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in the week beginning the 4th of February.

Section 11 of the Act sets out the law on access to termination of pregnancy in cases where there is a condition present affecting the foetus that is likely to lead to the death of the foetus before or within 28 days of birth.

The operation of the legislation is entirely a matter for attending clinicians. Neither the Minister nor the Department of Health has any role in the medical management of cases. Where a patient requires care not available in a particular location, the patient should be transferred to a hospital/service where the necessary care is available.

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 makes provision for women in cases where a medical practitioner has not given an opinion or has given an opinion that would not lead to certification for termination of pregnancy to be carried out. Section 13 of the Act provides that the woman, or a person acting on her behalf, may make an application to the HSE for a review of the relevant decision. Within 3 days of receiving such an application, the HSE must convene a committee of medical practitioners to review the relevant decision. The committee must complete its review not later than 7 days from the date on which it was established.

The National Women and Infants Health Programme continues to engage with the Dublin Midlands Health Group and the Coombe Hospital regarding termination of pregnancy service provision.