Deputy Michael Lowry has urged the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to tackle the severe shortage of midwives across all 19 maternity units.
In a Parliamentary Question to the Minister, the Independent T.D. for Tipperary highlighted the fact that midwifery staffing levels are at crisis point and called on the Minister to immediately sanction the required staff.
Deputy Lowry stated: “It is hugely alarming to learn that there is not one single maternity unit in the state that has the recommended, safe ratio of midwives to births. In fact the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has estimated that there is a shortage of over 620 midwives nationwide. This is hugely worrying for expectant mothers across the premier county and is simply not acceptable.
“The midwives and staff in the maternity units are working hard and doing their best to ensure that every mother and baby get the best possible care. Unfortunately the reality is that they are overstretched and struggling to cope. Staffing levels understandably have a knock on effect on the standard of care and the overall experience of mother and baby.
“The Government and Minister Reilly must take immediate action. The response received from the Minister this week is simply not acceptable. Minister Reilly has stated that the matter is being reviewed by the Midwifery Workforce Planning Project who will report in due course. It is essential that action be taken as a matter of urgency before some tragedy occurs.”