Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Topical Issue Debate
The Minister referred to the maternity strategy being brought forward. I am aware that there were concerns expressed about a strategy published, or partially published, for the north west, which has now been included in the overall national strategy. Whatever comes about, the key issue is that while we must have certainty in so far as we can, women about to give birth or who will give birth in the future must have confidence in the strategy.
There is huge anxiety and concern at times of tragedy such as those mentioned, but by international standards we have a reasonably good maternity service. However, this does not mean that we cannot do more. We should not just leave the report to the memory of the Kivlehan family. It should be acted on and any deficiency raised in the context of the inquest should be acted upon. While we are waiting for the maternity services report, some improvements to enhance the quality and safety of the service could be made. The pressures on maternity services such as the lack of consultants and the pressure on midwives must be examined. Comparisons with international standards show that we are short staffed in these key areas of maternity services.