Underfunding of UHG maternity services inflating waiting lists says Farrell

The numbers of women on long-term waiting lists for gynaecology services at University Hospital Galway, has jumped by almost a third in the past two years, with more than 1,100 currently on in-patient and out-patient waiting lists for varying periods.

New figures show that at the end of last month, 87 women were waiting more 12 months for an inpatient gynaecology appointment at UHG, a 28 per cent increase from a figure of 68 people this time two years ago. A further 238 women were waiting more than 18 months for outpatient appoints, an increase of 30 per cent from May 2015 when 183 women were in that position.

Sinn Féin Galway City East councillor Mairéad Farrell has called the situation “outrageous” and said it is the result of “successive governments continually underfunding maternity services in the State”.

“Our services are severely understaffed, lacking both midwives and obstetricians,” she said. “More than 600 midwives need to be recruited to achieve basic safety levels. We also have the lowest number of obstetricians per 100,000 women across all OECD countries. We are lagging way behind international standards.”

She said there are “obvious and viable measures that should be taken to help resolve this situation”. She said her party would recruit the 621 midwives “required to bring hospitals up to basic safety levels” as well as measures to alleviate overcrowding by “minimising unnecessary interventions” and expanding the midwife led units for low-risk pregnancies. She said SF would also recruit an additional 239 obstetricians/gynaecologists to double the number in the service.

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