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Statement by Bill Maher, Group CEO on Maternity Services within the Group

In response to a series of reports into Ireland’s maternity services including the HIQA report*, last year the HSE established a National Group to oversee the implementation of a series of recommendations arising from these reports. This group has developed implementation plans for 2014 to build on the many initiatives that are already underway in maternity services and to implement the recommendations.
It is in this context that a review of the existing models of maternity services care is being conducted across the West/North West Hospitals Group, including the maternity units Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe, University Hospital Galway, Mayo General Hospital, Sligo Regional Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital.
To be absolutely clear, no services reconfiguration options have been recommended to or approved by the Board of West / North West Hospitals Group or by the senior management of the Group.
Feasibility studies have not even been carried out and, as stated previously, speculation at this early stage in the process is unhelpful and upsetting for patients and staff.
At the February Board meeting the Board welcomed the first phase of the review and accepted the short-term recommendations to further develop the clinical governance structures across the Group and to develop consistent models of care.
The Board also welcomed a discussion on different service models including Midwife Led Units co-located with existing obstetric units and agreed that staff and public engagement on this would be included in the second phase of the review.
The stakeholder consultation with existing maternity hospital staff across the West / North West Hospitals Group that was agreed at the Group’s February board meeting has now commenced and the feedback from this will inform future decision-making.
When complete, the review of Maternity Services for the West/North West Hospitals Group will be considered as part of the broader national review of maternity services (as per the HIQA recommendations), which will be led by the Department of Health with input from the HSE.