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25 Jan 2022

Maternity restrictions 'a power struggle' between HSE, politicians and hospitals - Offaly TD

Maternity restrictions 'a power struggle' between HSE, politicians and hospitals - Offaly TD

Maternity restrictions 'a power struggle' between HSE, politicians and hospitals - Offaly TD

Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has called on the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and HSE CEO Paul Reid to immediately engage with the masters and heads of all maternity hospitals in the country.

Deputy Nolan made her call after she said that a concerted effort to resolve the ongoing challenges faced by pregnant women, and their partners, who are being denied access to some hospitals during pre-birth labour, must be made once and for all.

“Almost every week I have seriously distressed pregnant women contacting my office on this issue. Some of them are absolutely terrified at the prospect of having to go through their first birth unaccompanied by their spouses or partners.

"It is causing real and lasting harm and it cannot be allowed to continue.

"To many pregnant women looking on this issue has become a kind of proxy power struggle between the HSE, politicians and the maternity hospitals.

"Meanwhile they are the ones being left to face one of the most difficult but rewarding experiences in life essentially on their own.

"There is also a view being put forward by some of the maternity hospitals, most notably the Rotunda in Dublin, that these restrictions are based on firm guidance around patient safety.

"However, we have known for months now, in fact, we have known since early May, that HSE CEO Paul Reid wrote to all maternity units about partner restrictions where he insisted that conditions were right for restrictions to be lifted.

"Are the maternity hospitals now saying that the assessment conducted by the HSE was inaccurate and misleading?

"All of this is only feeding into the perception of a power struggle between the HSE and the hospitals with women and their partners caught in the middle.

"I have been urging the Minister and the HSE to act on this matter since last September when I first wrote to Minister Donnelly.

"It is simply appalling to think that so many women are still being subjected to such cruel and heartless levels of restrictions all this time on. The situation must change, and it must change immediately,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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