Dublin Fianna Fáil Senator Darragh O’Brien has expressed extreme concern at the crisis emerging in maternity services in Dublin with at least 20 midwives due to leave the health service in a matter of weeks.
Senator O’Brien said: “The Master of the Rotunda Hospital Dr. Sam Coulter-Smith has confirmed the hospital will lose 11 midwives while I understand eight midwives are due to leave Holles Street and the Coombe will also be affected.
“I am extremely worried about the comments being made by experts in maternity care that they feel lives will be put in danger as a result of the scale of reductions in midwives likely to take place around the country.
“The reduction in midwives in the Rotunda will be in the order of 6%. As Dr. Coulter-Smith has already pointed out these people are specialist professionals and deliveries in the Rotunda are increasing every year with 500 more deliveries last year than in 2010.
“A very serious situation is emerging at the Midwestern Regional Hospital in Limerick where 47 midwives are to leave the health service and there will be more hospitals impacted. What we need from the Government is clarity and assurance that these specialist services for women will be protected.
“Those working in maternity care are already witnessing an increase in the number of women presenting at public units and the fall-off in the number of people with private health insurance will only further impact on waiting times and services.
Senator O’Brien concluded: “It is only a matter of weeks before large numbers of health workers including midwives leave the health service and there has been no explanation from the Government as to what contingency plans are going to be put in place to protect services, women and newborns.”