Draft review shows options for maternity services

Thursday 15 May 2014 12.00
Four options involve the closure of the unit in Portiuncula Hospital
Four options involve the closure of the unit in Portiuncula Hospital

A confidential draft review of maternity services in the West and North West region has raised the possibility that up to four obstetric units could be closed as part of a reconfiguration of services.

The report, obtained by RTÉ's Morning Ireland, sets out six options for reconfiguring maternity services in the area.

The review of maternity services in the region was triggered in part by the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Mrs Halappanavar died on 28 October 2012, one week after she was admitted to hospital when she was 17 weeks' pregnant and miscarrying.

As part of the review, the Health Service Executive's West/North West Hospital Group commissioned consultants, The Health Partnership, to examine the options.

The draft report shows that six options for the reconfiguration of maternity services are being considered.

They range from the option of doing nothing, to the closure of up to four maternity units in either Ballinasloe, Letterkenny, Sligo or Mayo.

Four of the six options involve the closure of the unit in Ballinasloe's Portiuncula Hospital.

The option of downgrading services to midwife-led rather than consultant-led units is also being proposed.

Fianna Fáil has raised concerns about the dismantling of maternity services in the region.

However, the West/North West Hospital Group has said no reconfiguration options have been approved.

The group said speculation is unhelpful and upsetting to patients and staff.

Minister for Health James Reilly said there are no plans to close any hospitals in the region.

Group Chief Operating Officer of the HSE West/North West Hospital Group Tony Canavan has said no decisions have been made on the downgrading of maternity services in the region.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Canavan said the review "is about trying to make services better".

The HSE is consulting with staff and service users as part of the review, he added.