Sinn Féin spokespersons north and south, Mark Ward TD and Órlaithí Flynn MLA, have called for a specialist perinatal mental health service on the island of Ireland.
There is no mother and baby unit in Ireland, north or south. Mothers who need inpatient care are currently admitted to acute psychiatric units.
Mark Ward TD said:
“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.
“In the south, a preferred site has been chosen for a specialist perinatal mental health service in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, but there are no meetings scheduled to discuss this until at least September this year.
“This is not good enough as 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, free to act in the best interests of women’s health and available to all women on our island.”
Órlaithí Flynn MLA said:
“These services are crucial in supporting the mental health of not only expectant and new mothers but the wider family.
“Specialist community perinatal services will go along way but there needs to be access to inpatient services and beds, accessible across the island.
“Ireland, north and south, still has no mother and baby inpatient unit for new mothers who suffer severe mental illness, this has to change without further delay.”