Government Maternity Services plan sets dangerous precedent – Feeley

*Government Maternity Services plans set dangerous precedent – Feeley* Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has stated that the leaking of a confidential HSE report on the future of Maternity Services in the West/North West sets a dangerous precedent for services nationally. ‘Senator Marc MacSharry, my Party Seanad Health Spokesperson has confirmed to me details of an internal HSE report which strongly considers the downgrading of maternity services in Sligo General, Mayo General and Portiuncla. If the Government can justify only having consultant led services in Letterkenny Regional Hospital and University College Hospital on the entire western seaboard, what future have such services in Cavan General Hospital and other centres in the region. Councillor Feeley noted that much a significant part of County Cavan and indeed most of County Leitrim, large parts of County Roscommon and South Donegal all avail of the services of the maternity unit in Sligo General Hospital. ‘At a time when we’ve seen a number of tragedies in maternity services and questions over the quality of care at certain centres in the country, I fully support the need for investment in maternity and neo natal services across the country. This must be with a view to providing accessible and high quality care to all mothers and babies, regardless of where they live. Ireland has the lowest number of obstetricians per patients in the OECD. The Government must focus on attracting the necessary number of qualified consultant obstetricians, rather than taking the easy route of just shutting down maternity units outside the major urban centres.’ The Fianna Fáil Councillor stated that the ending of maternity services in Sligo General would have a devastating effect on the region and if such a situation were to arise he believes it would also put the services in Cavan General under threat. ‘I am fully aware that the maternity services in Cavan and in Sligo are under pressure to deal with the volume of work, closing these services is not acceptable. The full HSE report must now be published and the Minister for Health Dr. Reilly must make clear that the report does not represent Government policy. He must set out a roadmap for investment and improvement, not closure.’