Dáil debates

Thursday, 12 May 2022

National Maternity Hospital: Statements


2:05 pm

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

That is a very fair question, and one that is being asked repeatedly. The advice I have from the legal team, to which I posed exactly the same question, is that for lawyers and clinicians, the phrase “clinically appropriate” is a normal phrase used all the time. It is used in every hospital, on every ward and by every clinician. The legal team told me that in the same way that it would not define "obstetrics", "gynaecology" or "neonatal", for example, “clinically appropriate” was in that category. However, if I may say so, the Deputy’s question is very fair and reasonable. Clearly, for non-lawyers or non-clinicians, the phrase does not sit in the same place as the term "gynaecology" or "obstetrics", for example.

As per the conversation we had yesterday, at a minimum, the issue has been described and discussed at great length in the Oireachtas. I can yet again give an unambiguous assurance regarding the concern that people have that it could in some way be used to give a clinician some right to withhold services from women. That is not the case. I will finish on this point because I want to respect the Deputy’s time. I will write to the health committee and make that very clear. I also want to reflect on the totality of the debate as well on this point.


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