Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has said that despite the recent remarks from the Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Fergus Malone that anomaly scans will now be offered as part of maternity services at Cavan General Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospital, Drogheda, there is still doubt about whether any progress will be made.

Deputy Smyth was commenting following a Topical Issue debate in Dáil Éireann where the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Catherine Byrne failed to clearly state whether anomaly scans would be provided to expectant mothers.

“Professor Malone previously stated that ultrasonographers will travel now from the Rotunda to both Cavan General and Our Lady’s Hospital as all three hospitals are part of the RCSI hospital group.

“In her reply, the Minister could only confirm that referrals would be accepted from consultant doctors in hospitals without the facility for expectant mothers travel to hospitals with the right facilities.

“Many in the North East were rightly thrilled at this news, but the Minister’s comments in Dáil last week have dashed their hopes.

“20 week anomaly scans are critical for identifying potential foetal abnormalities by checking the baby’s bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen.

“This is an issue which I raised on a number of occasions with the Minister for Health and the HSE.

“It’s clear that the Minister is not on the same page as Professor Malone.

“Whether its crossed-wires or something else, the Minister and the HSE need to get their act together and recruit the necessary staff to roll out these crucial scans across the country,” concluded Smyth.