Seanad debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Mary FitzpatrickMary Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I support Senator Flynn's comments about the deaths of homeless people. I raised the issue last week, having stood outside with Inner City Helping Homeless, who were protesting at the deaths of 56 homeless people this year in Dublin. It is far too many. I welcome the Minister's response to my request, which is that he has tasked the HSE and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, DRHE, to compile a report and to bring it to him. It is a matter the Minister and our party is taking very seriously.

This morning I wish to raise women's health. I welcome the announcement by the HSE that it will allow partners of pregnant women attend their maternity visits and scans with them. That is very welcome and long overdue. Recently, I was in the Rotunda Hospital myself to meet with the master there. The Rotunda is the world's oldest maternity hospital and it is the busiest maternity hospital in the country. It delivers approximately 8,000 babies a year. One in six babies in Ireland is born in the Rotunda. One in four neonatal ICU babies is delivered in the Rotunda Hospital. The hospital gets approximately 500 gynaecological referrals a month and there is a waiting list of approximately 3,500 gynaecological appointments in the hospital.

The hospital is delivering 21st century medical care in an 18th century infrastructure. The building is creaking. It is overcrowded. The neonatal intensive care units are too small, and the postnatal wards are overcrowded. A woman has achieved her greatest achievement in life and pushed a baby out into the world, only for her then to be pushed into an overcrowded ward with no room for her, her partner and baby to have a little bit of privacy. That is just wrong. The delivery suites are insufficient. As I mentioned, there are 3,500 on the waiting list for basic gynaecological services for women's health. A report has been commissioned and a preliminary budget proposal has been made to the HSE. I renew my request for the Minister for Health to come to the House and to update it on the provision of women's health services in the Rotunda Hospital as soon as possible.


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