June 8, 2020
One step forward and two steps back as Cavan General Hospital Midwifery Led Unit under threat – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Louise O’Reilly says reports that the Midwifery Led Unit (MLU) and consultancy-run maternity services at Cavan General Hospital are set to merge would represent a regressive step for women’s healthcare.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said: “It is with genuine shock and anger that I read of reports that the Midwifery Led Unit (MLU) was under threat due to proposals to merge it with consultancy-run maternity services at Cavan General Hospital.

“The unit is one of only two midwife-led services in the state and it provides a fantastic service – I know that first-hand from women who have used the service.

“The National Maternity Strategy calls for more MLUs, so it is beggars belief that it would be threatened with being downgraded.

“The women of this state were promised a woman-centred national maternity strategy, and midwife-led care is the cornerstone of the National Maternity Strategy (2016-2026).

“If the MLU at Cavan General Hospital is downgraded, it will fly in the face of those promises and the overall strategy for women’s healthcare.

“Women in Cavan and Monaghan had to battle hard to get access to 20-week pregnancy scans, and they battled hard for an MLU and choice of pregnancy care. If this service is removed, then that choice of care is removed – this cannot be allowed to happen.

“In 2017, over 40 per cent of women had a Caesarean birth in Cavan General Hospital. This is a much higher than the 10-15 per cent rate recommended by the World Health Organisation. The high level of c-sections reported underlines the need for women to be allowed choose their own preferred method of care.

“That is why choice is incredibly important for women, and that is why women are frustrated and angry at any attempts to take away the MLU in Cavan.

“I have written to the Minister for Health to ask him to clarify the situation and to commit to keeping the MLU open. If this does not happen then it is another case of one step forward and two steps back for women’s healthcare in Ireland.”

Teachta O’Reilly will be working closely with Sinn Féin TD for Cavan Pauline Tully to ensure that MLU services at Cavan General Hospital are maintained.

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