Donegal Deputy Charlie McCOnalogue has called for a guarantee that maternity services at Letterkenny Hospital will be protected.

Responding to confirmation from the HSE that a review of maternity services in the West/NorthWest has been conducted, Deputy McConalogue said it’s essential that there is no downgrading of the maternity unit at Letterkenny.

“I am calling on the new West / North West hospital group to ensure that maternity services at Letterkenny General Hospital are protected in full,” the Fianna Fáil Deputy said.

“Letterkenny is currently the third busiest of the five maternity units in the West / North West region, handling 1,872 births in 2012 and 1,768 births in 2013. The hospital’s maternity unit, which is led by four consultants, has a strong safety record and an excellent reputation for its standard of care. Maternity services in Letterkenny have been greatly enhanced in recent years with the building of a new delivery suite six years ago and the refurbishment of the neonatal unit last year.

“Under no circumstances can we allow this service to be undermined in any way. I will be making it absolutely clear to the West/North West hospital group that there can be no question over the future of obstetric led maternity services in Letterkenny.

“I will also be emphasising that the Higgins report, which was commissioned before the establishment of the new hospital group structure last year, specifically stated that maternity, paediatric and emergency services must be continued at Letterkenny General Hospital under this new system due to the geographical location. The Minister for Health James Reilly must follow these recommendations and ensure a strong and vibrant obstetric maternity service is maintained in Letterkenny.

“In the wake of recent tragedies at other maternity units, we are all aware more than ever of the importance of high standard and safe maternity services. We are fortunate to have an excellent service in Letterkenny General Hospital. We must work to ensure that this is maintained and strengthened in the coming years.”