Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 16 February 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health
National Maternity Strategy: Discussion (Resumed)
I thank Ms Kerans. Before I bring in Deputies Kate O'Connell and Bernard Durkan, I have a number of questions for the witnesses. Surely the 20-week scan is a medical necessity rather than an option. I would imagine that both the first trimester scan and the anatomy scan are of medical importance, so it should be an absolute necessity to offer it rather than an optional offer. Is there a minimum size for an obstetric unit to be safe in delivering children? Smaller units may take the low-risk pregnancies and have the high-risk transferred to a specialised unit, but what would be the minimum size for a safe obstetric unit? On the last occasion Professor Kenny and Dr. Boland referred to the mastership model in regard to the governance of maternity hospitals, and expressed the view quite strongly that the mastership model was a much more efficient and effective model in regard to governance, responsibility and accountability. When Mr. Liam Woods, interim national director of the acute hospitals division, gave evidence on the last occasion, he did not hold that view. He did not think a mastership model would be an appropriate model for use in Cork . Perhaps the witnesses might think about those questions.