Fianna Fáil Senator Jim Walsh is calling on the Government to reveal if maternity services at Wexford General Hospital are on the danger list. Fears over the future of services emerged after the HSE was forced to admit that it’s carrying out a review of services in the West/North West. Fianna Fáil saw a confidential HSE report which shows that the health authority is seriously considering downgrading maternity services at three hospitals in the region.
“I have grave concerns that the HSE has commissioned other rationalisation plans looking at maternity services across the country. Reports of a downgrade of maternity services at Wexford General Hospital first surfaced in 2012 when proposals to transfer maternity services to Waterford Regional Hospital emerged. The amalgamation of the hospital into the Dublin-East group of hospitals last year as part of the Higgins Report recommendations has heighted fears that Wexford General’s services could be at risk”, commented Senator Walsh.
“The maternity situation in the West/North West region is extremely worrying and there are now very real fears that similar plans are in the pipeline for other areas including the South East, with Wexford General Hospital being targeted for a downgrading of maternity services. If the proposals from the West/North West region are replicated Wexford General Hospital could face losing all consultant obstetrician led maternity services and would force pregnant women to travel to Waterford to have their babies.
Senator Walsh added, “The silence from both Wexford Ministers with regard to maternity services at Wexford General is a concern in itself, as we are aware from the confidential report on the West/North West region that these policies are likely to be replicated across the country. On the basis of this report it seems obvious to conclude that rationalisation in Wexford is likely. Now is the time for opposition parties like Fianna Fáil to be raising our voices to oppose any moves to downgrade maternity services at Wexford General Hospital.
“Pregnant women in the South East, and more specifically Wexford, have a right to know if they’ll be able to have their babies in their local hospital. The current uncertainty is putting them under unfair and undue stress. I’m calling on the Health Minister and the HSE to publish any plans concerning Wexford General Hospital without delay and to end the speculation, which has been hanging over people in the county for almost two years.