National Maternity Hospital must be in State hands – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has urged the Minister for Health to “urgently implement the commitments made in the Dáil on Wednesday night following the successful adoption of a Sinn Fein motion in respect of the National Maternity Hospital and Maternity Services”.

Teachta Adams welcomed the decision of the other parties last night to support the Sinn Féin motion which “set out a detail of proposals for improvements to our maternity services including universal access to foetal anomaly screening, the full implementation of the National Maternity Strategy and a commitment to work with nursing and medical unions in the recruitment and retention of medical staff so that all maternity hospitals meet the Birth rate plus standard for midwifery staffing, as well as international standards for consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists”.

Gerry Adams said:

“The ongoing controversy over the ownership and governance of the National Maternity Hospital has put a focus on the provision of maternity care and services.

The decision by the Government to give ownership of the new national maternity hospital to the Sisters of Charity has justifiably manifested itself in massive public concern and anger particularly, though not exclusively, among women.

It is unacceptable that any religious ethos should determine clinical decisions. The hospital should be held in public ownership and have legally guaranteed independence from all non-medical influence in its clinical operations within the laws of the State.

This is a hospital which must carry out treatments such as in vitro fertilisation, IVF, sterilisation, gender reassignment surgery and, in some cases, termination. The notion that the Sisters of Charity must be given ownership of the hospital simply because they own the land is absolute nonsense. There are, as others have said, other options available to the Government and this motion, which will now be passed, will compel the Government to explore these options.

The priority must be to get the hospital built as soon as possible on terms acceptable to citizens, particularly women. We cannot continue with a situation where women and babies are treated in antiquated buildings that are not fit for purpose. Equally, we cannot continue with the situation where our maternity hospitals are operating at dangerously low staffing levels, where women are treated on corridors and where overcrowding and a lack of resources result in tragedy and upset. That is why a key component of this motion is to ensure that the national maternity strategy is implemented and properly funded.

The Minister for Health now needs to act with the utmost urgency to sort out the mess that surrounds the national maternity hospital. I acknowledge his remarks in the Dáil in the course of the debate and now look to him to deliver on his commitments.”


The text of Sinn Féin Dáil Motion:


— that since 2011, maternity services in Ireland have been marked with investigations and, in some cases, alleged cover ups of maternal and child mortality or injury in Portiuncula as well as University Hospital Galway, Portlaoise, Cavan, and Drogheda;

— that Ireland has the lowest number of consultant obstetricians per 100,000 women in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and a consultant obstetrician in Ireland is responsible for 597 births per annum, compared to 268 in Scotland;

— that the three Dublin maternity hospitals are operating at a 17 per cent deficit in the number of midwifery staff needed to run the services;

— that most of the 19 maternity units do not offer foetal anomaly screening, as prenatal ultrasound assessments by qualified sonographers and foetal medicine specialists are not available outside larger units;

— that, despite the enactment of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, there is a dearth of perinatal psychiatrists and other specialists;

— the serious inequalities and absence of resources which exist within the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide services to children with life-limiting and complex medical needs, and to those under palliative care; and

— that such shortcomings have directly led to tragic incidents involving mothers and children;

acknowledges and supports the findings of:

— the National Maternity Strategy, Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions in Ireland – A National Policy by the Department of Health, the HSE National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death, and the Report on End of Life and Palliative Care in Ireland by the Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2014; and

— the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services Report by the Health Information and Quality Authority submitted to the Minister for Health;

further acknowledges:

— that the Programme for a Partnership Government states it will implement the National Maternity Strategy and ‘invest in end of life care, including the provision of hospice and “end of life care” during the perinatal period, infancy, childhood and adulthood’;

— the need for continuity of care for women and parents during pregnancy, at the point of delivery and after birth, inclusive of where children have life-limiting conditions;

— the need to support bereaved parents in their transition out of hospital, with appropriate services and the availability of frontline bereavement counselling;

— that the above is best delivered by medical teams basing their decisions on best medical practice and not in any way beholden to any religious ethos; and

— the plans to move the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street to new, modern facilities at St. Vincent’s Hospital campus; and

calls on the Government to:

— honour commitments in the Programme for a Partnership Government in respect of funding and implementing the National Maternity Strategy;

— ensure that the new National Maternity Hospital is built on the St. Vincent’s Hospital campus as quickly as possible, remains entirely within public ownership and has legally guaranteed independence from all non-medical influence in its clinical operations within the laws of the State;

— ensure swift approval, dissemination and implementation of the National Maternity Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services;

— ensure all maternity hospitals have access to foetal anomaly screening, with the requisite staff and equipment;

— work with nursing and medical unions in the recruitment and retention of medical staff, so that all maternity hospitals meet the Birthrate Plus standard for midwifery staffing, as well as international standards for consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists;

— establish an independent patient advocacy service; and

— implement the recommendations of the Report on End of Life and Palliative Care in Ireland by the Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2014, prioritising those parts relating to care for children with life-limiting conditions.”


Munster Calls to publicise Reduce Parking Fee Arrangement at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital has confirmed, that following Parliamentary Questions submitted by Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster, that it offers reduced parking fee arrangements where parents, relatives or service users are attending the hospital on a frequent basis and where the burden of car parking charges may cause or increase hardship. The rate offered is a flat fee of€4 per day, regardless of length of stay or number of visits on a given day.

Hospital Management advise that in such cases the ward manager or social worker dealing with the patient or their family will make them aware of the provision of such arrangements and arrange for the appropriate process to be put in place.

However, Sinn Féin TD, Imelda Munster believes that it is not good enough to expect the already hard pushed hospital staff to be in a position to ensure that patients and their families are aware of this arrangement, nor does every patient have a social worker appointed to them.

‘If they genuinely want people to avail of this facility then they need to be up-front and pro-active about it,’ says Deputy Munster.

‘In the interests of transparency, I have contacted the hospital management requesting that they advertise the availability of the €4 flat fee strategically in Car Parks, at the Parking Pay Zones, at Reception as well as on lifts and notice boards throughout the hospital.’

‘The public are clearly not aware of this!’

Threatened services at Daisy Hill jeopardises Cross Border Healthcare – Adams

Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has said that any reduction in services at Newry’s Daisy Hill Hospital will have a detrimental impact on his constituents and on healthcare provision in Louth.

Gerry Adams said;

“The Southern Health and Social Care Trust have stated that the temporary overnight closure of the Emergency Department at Daisy Hill Hospital is being considered due to staffing issues.

“People living in the Newry, South Armagh and Down areas are naturally concerned that if this happens it will be the thin end of the wedge for further closures and diminishment of services at Daisy Hill, which may result in the eventual closure of the hospital.

“In Louth we have witnessed a similar chain of events which has resulted in the closure of the Emergency Department and a host of other services at the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.

“The corollary of this is a massive increase in demand placed on Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where sufficient extra capacity was not introduced. This is now manifest in increased waiting times for in patient and outpatient treatment, huge numbers of people on trollies, long waits for emergency treatment, stress for patients and staff and staff shortages.

“There are a significant number of people from Louth and across all of the border counties who, through the EU funded Cooperation and Working Together (CAWT) project, access treatment at Daisy Hill Hospital.

“Arrangements are in place for cross border ENT, Urology and Vascular treatment as well as Kidney Dialysis and of course the Emergency Department.  This is all in jeopardy in the event of service reduction in Daisy Hill and this will place even more of a strain on Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

“I have written to the Health Minister Simon Harris to alert him to this situation and I have also written to the Chairperson of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Roberta Brownlee, to urge a swift resolution to this matter and the full retention of services at Daisy Hill Hospital.”

Action needed to fill posts in Our Lady of Lourdes – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin leader and TD for Louth/East Meath Gerry Adams has this morning called for the Minister for Health to take urgent action to ensure the 104 whole-time equivalent posts in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital are filled in light of the indefinite work-to-rule announced by nursing staff today.

Teachta Adams said:

“I want to pay tribute and extend my solidarity to the staff of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda who do an incredible job treating patients in the most difficult of circumstances.  The fact that the hospital is operating with 104 less staff than it should is nothing short of a scandal.

“Our Lady of Lourdes has consistently been amongst the three hospitals in the State with the highest emergency department trolley figures, and yesterday had the highest with 26 patients waiting on trolleys for a bed.

“The chaos in our hospital emergency departments will not be resolved by the Government’s ill-considered and underfunded two-tier approach, agreed with Fianna Fáil during Government negotiations.

“The introduction last week of a recruitment moratorium at hospital groups is only going to worsen the situation.

“What we need is real investment in public healthcare and the required staffing levels in hospitals to be met. The Minister for Health must take urgent action to resolve issues at Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Louth Gov. TDs should support Sinn Féin Dáil motion to ease ED Crisis – Cllr Imelda Munster

imelda photo orangeSinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr Imelda Munster is calling on all Louth TDs to vote in favour of the Sinn Féin’s private members motion, which proposes key actions to ease the crisis gripping our Emergency Departments throughout the state.

The motion will be debated and voted on in the Dáil this week.

Councillor Munster said:

“Sinn Féin’s motion proposes key actions that the Fine Gael and Labour Party government can take to ease the crisis in our emergency departments.”

“People here in our own town have had enough empty promises and bluster, they deserve and want to see results. The crisis faced daily at Our Lady of Lourdes is not new, it continues because Minister Varadkar, supported by Drogheda’s own Deputies Nash and O’Dowd and his colleagues are failing to grasp the frightening scale of the crisis in the health service”

“The people of Louth remember the litany of previous promises; regional centres of excellence, retention of services at Louth hospital, new 100 bed nursing home units. The Taoiseach and two Ministers for Health have completely failed to live up to promises for our health services. We have also seen the previous Fianna Fáil led government stand idly by while Louth County hospital was downgraded.”

“The measures proposed in the Sinn Féin motion are aimed at easing the crisis. INMO trolley watch figures for 2015 are frightening, yesterday we saw 424 people on trolleys, with 33 here in Our Lady of Lourdes. We are calling for the government to increase the number of hospital beds available in the system. This will help get patients off trolleys and into hospital beds in wards where they belong.”

“Sinn Féin has also identified the need to recruit more emergency department nurses. We must increase home help hours and home care packages, to help alleviate the pressure hospitals find themselves under. Funding for the Fair Deal Scheme must be further increased. We need more nursing home beds in order to improve the capacity of public nursing home provision.”

“This motion is about the opportunity to make different choices. I am calling on all Louth TDs to do the right thing and to vote in favour of the Sinn Féin private members motion “