Fianna Fáil will table a motion in the Seanad next week opposing the dismantling of maternity services in the West and North West regions.

It comes after the party’s Seanad Spokesperson on Health, Senator Marc Mac Sharry, received a copy of a confidential HSE report detailing dramatic cuts to maternity units, including the possible closure of the obstetrician led services at Portiuncula Hospital, Mayo General, Sligo General and Letterkenny Hospital.

The motion demands the protection of obstetrician-led maternity services across the country.  It highlights the need to invest in our maternity services to ensure that all expectant mothers have reasonable access to safe, specialised care for the duration of their pregnancies.

Senator Mac Sharry explained, “Any attempt to dismantle our obstetrician-led maternity services must be resisted.  We simply cannot allow a situation where expectant mothers are forced to travel for hours just to see an obstetrician.  What happens if an expectant mother experiences an emergency and needs to get to hospital quickly?  Will they be expected to travel for hours to get the specialised care that they need?

“It is very clear from the HSE report that I received last week that there are strong plans to downgrade maternity services in the West and North West.  I fear that the same plans are underway in other parts of the country.  Ireland already has the lowest number of obstetricians per patients in the OECD and we cannot allow a situation where these crucial specialised services are moved further away from patients.

“Next week in the Seanad, Fianna Fáil will be asking all Senators to stand up against the downgrading of our maternity services.  This debate will give us an opportunity to put politics aside, and demand the protection of obstetrician led maternity services in the West, North West and right across the country.”