I propose to take Questions Nos. 557, 558 and 676 together.
I would like to be clear that the Government is fully committed to the implementation of the National Maternity Strategy and to the development of community midwifery services.
The Strategy recognises that while all pregnant women need a certain level of support, some will require more specialised care. Accordingly, it proposes an integrated model that delivers care at the lowest level of complexity and encompasses all the necessary safety nets in line with patient safety principles. The Strategy aims to ensure that appropriate care pathways - Supported, Assisted and Specialised - are in place so that mothers, babies and families get the right care, at the right time, by the right team in the right place.
As a result of the investment which has been made in maternity services since the launch of the Strategy, more women are being offered midwifery led care, with many of our maternity hospitals and units now providing community-based midwifery services and home-away-from-home birthing suites.
The National Women & Infants Health Programme has been established in the HSE to lead the management, organisation and delivery of maternity, gynaecology and neonatal services across primary, community and acute care. The Programme is driving implementation of the Strategy and this will be done on a phased basis over the next few years.
€1.5m additional development has been provided to the Programme for the further implementation of the Strategy in 202, and this funding will be used to further expand community midwifery services. I have asked the Health Service Executive to reply to you directly in relation to your specific queries regarding the timelines for implementation of the Strategy.