Donnelly accused of undermining HSE in attempt to lift maternity restrictions
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has been accused of undermining the leadership of the HSE in its attempts to have all maternity hospitals lift restrictions on visiting partners.
Labor Senator Annie Hoey made the claim after Mr Donnelly supported the right of individual hospitals to decide not to lift restrictions if they did not believe it was safe.
Ms Hoey called on Mr Donnelly to “consider offering leadership in this area, rather than seeking to undermine the work of the HSE.”
The minister defended on Thursday the decisions taken at the local level by individual hospitals.
“We would like an approach as coherent as possible and a national approach as open as possible,” he said in the Dáil.
“However, this is not applied consistently as some maternity hospitals have appealed that they do not think it is safe for them and I support that and support their local right to make these decisions.”
HSE Clinical Director Dr Colm Henry wrote to the 19 maternity hospitals to tell them that visiting restrictions are “a cause of distress for patients and their partners at a very important time in their lives.”
The director general of the health service, Paul Reid, also said that “the conditions are right” to lift the restrictions.
Ms Hoey said the HSE announcements varied depending on what was actually going on because “a designated support partner can attend the 20 week discrepancy analysis, but the 12 week reservation is not included.
“What is also not covered in the ad are antenatal appointments and unscheduled care or miscarriages. This is not good enough. ”
Fianna Fáil Senator Lisa Chambers called the current restriction “barbaric, cruel and unnecessary” and that 14 months after the start of the pandemic “they still have not found a solution”.
Ms Chambers said: “A partner is not a luxury at the birth of a baby. They are there for the mother’s physical and mental support, and they are also there for the birth of their child.
Referring to last week’s report from the Psychological Society of Ireland that this is having a direct negative impact on women’s mental health and growing anxiety among partners, she said they “are sitting in parking lots while waiting. that phone call so I can walk up the stairs and hopefully get to the delivery room on time.
“This is what happens every hour of every day in hospitals. I experienced it myself last year and can attest to how traumatic and horrible the situation is – being in a position where your partner is forced out of the hospital and not allowed in and as we walk towards the delivery room, wondering if it will arrive in time. Some people didn’t.
She said it was as if women weren’t listened to. “Once again, we are ignoring the voices of women in the health service.
“It’s not that we’re not used to this, it has happened on a lot of issues already, but it is 2021 and Irish women deserve better from their health service.”
Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly said it was a “postcode lottery” based on which hospital a woman was attending. “In Galway, partners are allowed to enter one hour a day when the baby is born. In the rest of the North West, visits are not allowed, but in some Dublin hospitals it is three hours a day.
She said: “There is nothing in the world of difference between a woman, a baby and a partner in the West of Ireland and in Dublin.
“Why we can’t show equality on this issue is beyond me, quite frankly. We must act now. “
Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin welcomed the “clarification from above,” but said: “There does not appear to be the same clarification in the three maternity hospitals and 16 maternity hospitals across the country.
“It’s past the time that partners were allowed to attend the scans and all of the work.”