The numbers of women attending Portiuncula Hospital’s Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU ) rose by almost 50 per cent between March and September this year compared to the same period last year.
A total of 1,163 patients have attended the facility’s outpatient clinic.
Dr Naveed Khawaja, consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist, says unnfortunately miscarriage is a very common event with up to 20 per cent of pregnancies ending this way.
“An ectopic pregnancy is one of the leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality. Therefore, the establishment of the EPU at Portiuncula Hospital has allowed general practitioners and their patients’ rapid access to a sympathetic diagnostic service. We are committed to providing a timely, confidential and dedicated service.”
Prior to the establishment of the EPU women attended the hospital’s emergency department with first trimester problems like bleeding and pain. Since the unit opened last year patients can avail of a specialist team including an obstetric registrar and senior house officer led by the consultant obstetrician on call.
The service runs from Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 9.30am. Staff run the clinic in the morning before the main outpatient department clinic begins. Only patients who have a positive pregnancy test with bleeding or pain are referred to the EPU. The unit allows the obstetric team to work closely with patients in the management of their pregnancy. The consultation involves an ultrasound scan and necessary blood tests to establish follow up care.