Rotunda may limit intake of mothers


One of the biggest maternity hospitals in the State is considering a cap on the number of expectant mothers it will deliver, because of safety concerns. The Rotunda hospital says it cannot continue accommodating an ever-increasing number of patients when space is limited and its budget is falling.

Master of the hospital Dr Sam Coulter-Smith said the hospital had reached the limit it could accommodate, and was seriously considering how many expectant mothers it could cope with in the future.

“We’re going to have to discuss capping the numbers. We haven’t decided we will do it but it’s definitely something we’re considering.”

He said the hospital had never before imposed a cap on numbers and did not want to do so unless it had no choice.

Last year, for the first time, the Rotunda delivered the babies of more than 9,000 mothers, who gave birth to 9,319 babies. This represents a 40 per cent increase in deliveries over the past five years.

“This unprecedented level of activity took place in a time of serious constraints with a reduced allocation from the HSE, a moratorium on employment and a reduced headcount,” Dr Coulter-Smith notes in the hospital’s 2011 corporate report. He said the Rotunda’s budget had been cut by 3-5 per cent annually in recent years while its activity levels rose by 5 per cent a year.