Calleary calls for cross-party support for Mayo maternity services

Mayo GenFianna Fáil has called on all public representatives in Co Mayo to stand up against the
downgrading of maternity services in the West and North West
regions.

This week, Seanad Éireann will vote on a Fianna Fáil motion condemning planned cuts
to local maternity services. The motion highlights the fact that Ireland has the
lowest number of obstetricians per number of patients in the OECD.  It calls for
enhancement of obstetrician-led services at regional hospitals, rather than the
dismantling of a crucial frontline health service.

It comes after a confidential HSE report, seen by Fianna Fáil last week, outlined
plans to downgrade up to four maternity units in the West and North West
including Mayo General, Portiuncula, Sligo General and Letterkenny
General.

Mayo Deputy Dara Calleary has branded the plans as a “dangerous
cost-cutting exercise that fails to consider the needs of Mayo
patients.”

“This would mean that expectant mothers in Co Mayo would be
forced to travel for hours round-trip just to see an obstetrician at UHG.  What
happens in the case of an emergency?” asked Deputy Calleary.

“It is clear from this report that the Government and the HSE are strongly considering
removing obstetrician led maternity services from our local hospital. Not only
would this be a great inconvenience to patients in Co Mayo, it would create
dangerous gaps in what is an essential frontline health service in this
county.

“This week, Senators have the chance to stand up against plans to
dismantle obstetrician led maternity services in this country.  There are
growing fears that the plans we’ve seen in the HSE report on the West and North
West are just the tip of the iceberg.  We cannot allow this crucial service be
moved further and further away from Mayo patients.

“I am urging public representatives from all sides in Co Mayo to make their voices heard on this
issue.  Such significant downgrading of our local maternity services would set a
dangerous precedent for the future of our frontline health services in
Mayo.”