Thursday, 15 October 2020
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Leo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
I thank Deputy Carroll MacNeill for raising the issue of pregnancy loss and infant loss. I know it is a deeply traumatic experience for so many people whom we know. When I was the Minister for Health, I had the privilege of producing Ireland's first national maternity strategy, which is being implemented and there is funding for it in the budget, which I am delighted to see. The Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, managed to secure more funding for it than I did and I welcome the fact this is happening. Part of the strategy involves improving the responsiveness of our health service in these situations and training doctors, midwives and health professionals on how better to break bad news and deal with bad news such as this. It involves the appointment of bereavement midwives who specialise in this. A number of them exist already and we need more. As well as this there are small things that matter, such as the right room. It can be very difficult for somebody to find out the baby she is carrying has died or will not survive in a ward where she can hear the sound of newborn babies. All of these little things can really make a difference. We have a pathway to really improve how we treat people in these scenarios.