The National Maternity Strategy, published in 2016, aims to ensure that appropriate care pathways are in place in order that mothers, babies, and families get the right care, at the right time, from the right team and in the right place. €9.65m in new development funding was allocated to the Strategy during the period 2016-2020, with further very significant investment of €7.317m provided in Budget 2021 to ensure a renewed impetus to the Strategy's implementation.
In relation to capital funding, the 2020 HIQA report “Overview report of HIQA’s monitoring programme against the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services” recommended that the HSE conduct a review of the infrastructural deficits of each of our maternity services. The HSE has advised that it is preparing a plan in response to the recommendations of the HIQA report, including that related to hospital infrastructure. However, it should be noted that this process has been very significantly delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent cyber-attack on the HSE IT systems.
With regard to Covid related restrictions in maternity services, as this is an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.