Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has highlighted the lack of perinatal services in the state.
There is a prevalence of depression during pregnancy and Teachta Ward called for the resourcing of a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service.
Currently there is no mother and baby unit on the island of Ireland. Mothers who need inpatient care are currently admitted to acute psychiatric units.
Teachta Ward said:
“A response I received to a parliamentary question states that the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service Model of Care (published Nov. 2017) recommended that a mother and baby unit be developed in Dublin in the Ireland East Hospital Group. This would serve as a national tertiary referral unit.
“It is now 2021 and nothing has happened. Reports are not worth the paper they are written on unless they are acted upon. A preferred site has been chosen for a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.
“Meetings to progress this much needed facility will take place in Q3 2021, Covid permitting. I am asking that these talks take place as soon as possible. If this was a priority to this Government, then meetings could take place. We are all using new technologies these days.
“Shortcomings in our maternity and mental health services have directly led to heartrending incidents involving mothers and children, including the tragic deaths of some.
“We must have a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service that is fit for purpose and free to act in the best interests of women’s health.
“It is unacceptable that there is no mother and baby perinatal unit on the island of Ireland.
“Mothers who need inpatient care are currently admitted to acute psychiatric units without their children. There is a prevalence of depression during pregnancy and on this International Women’s Day I am calling for the resourcing of Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service.”
Note to editor:
You can view the PQ response in full here.