‘Excellence’ must drive change

THE Health Minister must pursue excellence in maternity provision, a local MLA has said

Sam Gardiner, who sits on the Stormont Health Committee said: “I wanted to emphasise the tremendous human costs to mothers and fathers who lose children, especially in preventable circumstances.

“While I thanked the Minister for his report on those very sad occasions when mothers and fathers lose their children, I told him that I was sure that that experience will always live with them and will continue to live with the families affected.

“I encouraged the Minister to raise the standard of maternity provision even further. I thank advisers Dr Paul Fogarty and Cathy Warwick for their sterling work in advising the Minister in this area.”

Mr Gardiner added: “The Minister told me that, though some people question the safety of midwife-led units with their the absence of obstetricians, a 2008-2010 study in England looked at 65,000 low-risk women, which were cases that would have gone to a midwife-led unit and the study found that, for straightforward pregnancies, giving birth is generally very safe, with no adverse perinatal outcomes.

“Stillbirth in labour, early neo-natal death or specified birth-related injuries were low, at around 4·3 events out of every 1,000 in the population. However, the Minister admitted that for the parents involved, even four children out of 1,000 is very significant.

“The future of all our medial provision including maternity services must be excellence. That has to be the watchword, no matter how we re-order how services are delivered. Change must be driven by excellence and not by finance.”