Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has said he is extremely concerned about media reports today that maternity services in Sligo and across the North West face a major downgrade with only services at Letterkenny and Galway to be retained.
“If this report is accurate this is extremely serious. I am calling on the Minister for Health to give immediate assurances to the people of Sligo and the North West that the Government will not axe maternity units in the region from five to two and force expectant mothers to travel to Letterkenny or Galway for care,” said Senator Mac Sharry, who is the party Spokesperson on Health in the Seanad.
“This is a matter of huge concern for communities’ right across the North West. Sligo Regional Hospital alone is serving a population of 260,000 people. It will not be acceptable in any way to close maternity services in Mayo and Sligo and only retain maternity units in Letterkenny and Galway. Communities in the North West including South Donegal Sligo Leitrim, West Cavan, North Roscommon and North Mayo need more health care services not less. The Government needs to move quickly to allay the fears communities have after hearing of this draft report.
“There is a review underway of maternity services in the North West by consultants commissioned by the West/North West Hospital Group. I think it is extremely important that we have clarity around this review; that the terms under which the consultants are carrying out their examination are known to the public and that communities are kept informed through the process. We cannot have a situation where major recommendations on the future delivery of maternity care for a region as large as the North West are being decided in secret.”