SINN Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today (Wednesday) welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Health that Ante-Natal Services at Dungloe Community Hospital are to be developed in accordance with the HSE’s Maternity Strategy for community services.
The confirmation comes following months of uncertainty surrounding the future of maternity services at the hospital which were suspended back in November 2014.
Deputy Doherty said: “It has been confirmed to me today following correspondence which I’ve received from the Health Minister that Gynaecology and Ante-Natal clinics, which formally operated out of Dungloe Community Hospital prior to their suspension in 2014, are now expected to be developed following the appointment of a new Director of Midwifery.
“It’s my understanding that the proposals will see Ante-Natal clinics at the hospital developed as a Widwifery led service, which will be done in accordance with the HSE Maternity Strategy for community services.
“In essence, this should result in a safe, fit-for-purpose community based service for women throughout West Donegal and the model will be largely based on similar clinics which are already in operation at other hospitals such as in Gort, Athenry and Oughterard.
“These clinics based in Galway have been up and running for some time now and are highly regarded by all those who avail of their services which are renowned for the exceptional care which they provide in their respective communities.
“The next stage in this process will involve the guidelines and policies which have helped to direct these services in Galway, being shared and further communicated to management at Letterkenny University Hospital in an effort to progress this initiative further.
“While the Minister has not given a timeframe for when it’s expected that the service will commence in Dungloe, it is certainly a positive step and will come as welcome news for service users here in the county.
“As everyone knows I have been actively campaigning on this issue ever since maternity services were suspended at Dungloe, and I am happy to finally hear some positive news following today’s announcement.
“Of course, the issue of resource allocation for these clinics will now be something which will need to be further examined and queried, however I believe that these plans will come as a huge relief for women throughout West Donegal.”