Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Independent Clinical Review of Maternity Services at Portiuncula University Hospital: Statements (Resumed)
Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
I welcome the opportunity to contribute. As has been pointed out, Portiuncula Hospital was opened in 1945. We have to be mindful of the parents who, unfortunately, did not have a good experience in the hospital and who lost their babies. We have to remember those tonight while we are having this debate.
On the other hand, two of my three children were born there and, thankfully, everything worked out very well.
The report outlined different actions which needed to be taken. My understanding is that many of those actions have been taken. I am aware that there is now joined-up thinking, which was not the case previously, and that Portiuncula is working in conjunction with the hospital in Galway, which is needed.
My sister-in-law had a child in Ballinsaloe at Christmas and the staff were excellent. There were a few complications and the child was brought to Crumlin straight away in order to ensure that everything was okay. We have to be mindful of the staff who work in Portiuncula because a shortage of personnel was highlighted for years and nothing was done. We need to compliment the staff who there on the work they are doing.
We must also be mindful of the needs of people in Roscommon and east Galway. Parts of Roscommon are 60, 70 or 80 miles from Galway hospital. Portiuncula Hospital is vital for maternity services and all the services available there, including accident and emergency. We need to ensure that resources are put into Portiuncula Hospital, that the staffing levels are correct and that the necessary infrastructure is put in place. There is supposed to be a building project in respect of the accident and emergency department. I hope that will not be left hanging for a while because of the debacle relating to the national children's hospital.
Things like this sometimes give a Government an excuse to state that it will move the hospital somewhere else. Figures were put out about the babies who were born in Portiuncula Hospital as against Galway hospital and suggestions were made that Galway hospital has better services. We need to ensure that those services are in Portiuncula Hospital and it is kept going because it is vital. I compliment the staff who work there, especially the nurses and midwives.