September 6, 2023
No perinatal inpatient care for mothers and babies on the island of Ireland – Mark Ward TD & Órlaithí Flynn MLA

Sinn Féin spokespeople on Mental Health, North and South, have said there is a lack of urgency in delivering a mental health inpatient perinatal unit on the island of Ireland.

Mark Ward TD and Órlaithí Flynn MLA were speaking following responses from respective Departments of Health indicating no definitive date for inpatient perinatal services.

Mark Ward TD said:

“At present there is no inpatient specialist perinatal hospital on the island of Ireland.

“Mothers who need inpatient mental health care are currently being admitted to acute psychiatric units without their children.

“The HSE Model of Care for Perinatal services have developed a hub and spoke model. This seems to be working quite well, but the missing piece of the jigsaw is the inpatient service.

“I have received responses to parliamentary questions that do not give a definitive timeframe for when the proposed inpatient perinatal unit will be up and running.

“Within the last year, St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin has been chosen as the site for this vital 10-bed unit, but we still do not know when this will be operational.

“This process is taking far too long and needs to be streamlined. The Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Service Model of Care published in 2017 recommended that a mother and baby unit be developed in Dublin. It’s now 2023 and we are still waiting.

“Ireland has a dark history of separating Mothers and babies and this needs to stop.

“We need to see urgency from Government on this important issue.”

Órlaíthí Flynn MLA said:

“Shortcomings in our maternity and mental health services have directly led to heartbreaking 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, free to act in the best interests of women’s health and available to all women on our island.

“An Executive is needed in the north to secure funding for a specialised mother and baby unit to help women struggling with mental health conditions post pregnancy.

“The DUP’s boycott of the institutions is delaying progress on this vital service.”

ENDS

Note to editor:

– Click here to view PQ Response 1 from HSE to Mark Ward TD.

– Click here to view PQ Response 2 from HSE to Mark Ward TD.

– Click here to view response from Dept of Health in the North to Órlaithí Flynn MLA.

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