Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Topical Issue Debate
I appreciate the Minister's comment that he has not been fully briefed on the case, but I ask him to look at it because the reason is as I outlined, that she referred somebody to a hospital. This woman has an impeccable record. Sadly, the antics of the HSE have left ten women who are due to give birth imminently without somebody to assist them. I received many e-mails on this issue, but one I received this afternoon came from a woman who was a patient of Ms Philomena Canning and is 32 weeks pregnant. She says women are entering hospitals and leaving in coffins and that women are leaving maternity hospitals carrying their dead children home to be buried. She mentions that nine staff were found to have a case to answer in regard to the death of Savita Halappanavar but not one was suspended, never mind fired. All of them are still practising. She refers to inquests in Sligo, investigations in Portlaoise and says this is what the HSE calls care. She goes on to say: "I would rather birth on the side of the road than enter an Irish hospital as a pregnant woman."
The right to bodily integrity and make a decision on when and how one wants to have children is and should be at the heart of a proper maternity care system. I suggest the Minister should review this issue because there has been a deliberate undermining of community midwives. I know that he is only new in the Department, but I ask him to look at the case mentioned in order to help women at the coalface on this issue.