On Wednesday 2nd of June, Deputy Catherine Connolly will introduce a private member’s motion in the Dáil calling on the Government to urgently implement the National Maternity Strategy and to ensure that the National Maternity Hospital remains entirely within public ownership.
Deputy Connolly has raised these issues on a number of occasions in the Dáil, highlighting that despite the fact that Ireland’s first ever National Maternity Strategy, “Creating a Better Future Together”, was launched in January 2016, very little progress has been made to-date on implementation. The February 2020 HIQA Overview Report, which was based on inspections of Ireland’s 19 maternity hospitals, highlighted a lack of clarity and leadership within the HSE in relation to the Strategy, and made a number of recommendations which, to-date, have not been progressed.
The Strategy was developed following the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar and contains important provisions to ensure that all pregnant women in Ireland have access to the right level of care and support. According to Deputy Connolly, “the National Maternity Strategy is a vital document, empowering women by putting them at the centre of their care. I am calling on the Government, as a matter of urgency, to develop and publish a comprehensive, time-bound and fully costed implementation plan, to ensure that pregnant women and maternity care staff can have confidence in the safety, quality and standards of maternity services in this country.”
Against the backdrop of the third anniversary of the historic referendum to repeal the eighth amendment, Deputy Connolly’s motion also urges the Government to ensure that the National Maternity Hospital remains in public ownership, with legally guaranteed independence from all non-medical influence in its clinical operations.