Responding to a HSE report today which suggests that maternity services in four hospitals in the west and north-west could be under threat, Senator Mullen warned against any further erosion of healthcare services and said:
“These four hospitals are providing excellent maternity services to the people of the west and north west. Sending more patients to Galway Hospital will mean more pressure on an already busy maternity unit as well as longer travel times for women in labour.
Senator Mullen met with Consultant Obstetrician Dr John Monaghan of Portiuncula Hospital recent to discuss reports that the Ballinasloe maternity unit might be under threat.
Senator Mullen said:
“Births have not fallen in Portiuncula,” Senator Mullen said. “Portiuncula is a linchpin in provision of maternity services to women across Galway and surrounding areas and serves its wide catchment area very well. The unit has been in operation since 1943 and has an excellent reputation with almost 2,000 babies born there annually. If the maternity unit closed, patients would have to travel as far as Portlaoise, Mullingar or Galway City for care. This would not be acceptable.”
Dr Monaghan, who has delivered thousands of babies in Portiuncula, added that he would be ‘extremely disappointed’ to see any downgrading of the maternity unit. “I think I can speak on behalf of all of my obstetric colleagues when I say that we are very proud of the standard of care offered to pregnant women and their babies here in Portiuncula. Any removal of services would be a significant loss to women in East Galway, Roscommon and the surrounding areas.”
Senator Mullen expressed concern that in these days where economic pressures have put extraordinary pressure on people, people need services close to home and should not have to face the stress of travelling further away with the extra anxiety and hardship involved.