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Maternity closure speculation "unhelpful" - HSE 16.05.14

THE HSE has moved to dampen "unhelpful and upsetting" speculation about the potential closure of maternity units in the west and north west.
Group chief executive of the hospitals in question, Bill Maher, confirmed that a review of the existing models of maternity services care is being conducted at Letterkenny, Sligo, Galway, Mayo and Portiuncula hospitals.
"To be absolutely clear, no services reconfiguration options have been recommended to or approved by the board of West/North West Hospitals Group or by the senior management of the group," said Mr Maher in a statement forwarded to Labour election candidates in the area.
"Feasibility studies have not even been carried out and, as stated previously, speculation at this early stage in the process is unhelpful and upsetting for patients and staff.
"At the February board meeting the board welcomed the first phase of the review and accepted the short-term recommendations to further develop the clinical governance structures across the group and to develop consistent models of care.
"The board also welcomed a discussion on different service models including midwife-led units co-located with existing obstetric units and agreed that staff and public engagement on this would be included in the second phase of the review."
Bill Maher.
Mr Maher said consultation with stakeholders was now underway and the feedback would "inform future decision-making".
"When complete, the review of maternity services for the West/North West Hospitals Group will be considered as part of the broader national review of maternity services - as per the HIQA recommendations - which will be led by the Department of Health with input from the HSE," he added.
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