Friday, 30 April 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
First, I also extend my sympathies to Senator Mullen. As a fellow Galwegian, I know the amount of time that he has spent supporting his family over the past couple of years. My thoughts are with the whole family.
I commend Senator Ahearn on bringing up the subject of hyperemesis because there is a lottery when it comes to medication. I was also going to raise the issue of the postcode lottery when it comes to maternal healthcare in this country. We have seen the opening-up announcements yesterday, which are very welcome and will give much hope to people. Over the past week, there also have been several announcements on the opening up of maternity wards to partners, but this is very much a postcode lottery. In University Hospital Galway, UHG, there is one hour per day for partners - half an hour to the neonatal unit when a father has a child there - but there are no other hospitals in the north west offering the same. Then you look at the Coombe, where partners can come in for three hours a day.
In all of these matters, it is not in any way to criticise the hospitals because they are doing their best. What it points out is that there are many regional inequalities, and that this has to do with gender and how we think of our maternal healthcare around the country The national maternity strategy has been held back. We now need to see post Covid that we are moving forward with that. I ask the Leader to ask the Minister for Health to come in and have a proper conversation on how we will change that for all women in the country.
International day of the midwife is on 5 May and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, INMO, conference next week is entitled The Courage to Care. We have seen midwives in particular take a strong lead when it comes to supporting women throughout the pandemic.It is all of our responsibility going forward to jointly as a society support women who are pregnant and giving birth.