Sinn Féin claims Government not serious about maternity strategy

Last year 23,000 pregnant women did not get a 20-week anomaly scan


The Government is not serious about implementing its own maternity strategy maintains Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly.

According to reports, 23,000 pregnant women did not get a 20-week anomaly scan in 2016.

Ms O’Reilly said that the 20-week scan is a common procedure in most countries and is important for both mother and baby as an indicator that treatment may be required – either in utero or immediately after birth.

“The HSE has a maternity strategy that centres on the 20-week anomaly scan, but they don’t seem to be able to tell how many can access the scan, or where,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Monday.

There is a “post code lottery” on the issue with pregnant women in areas outside the main cities unable to access the scan, she said.

This contravenes international advice on the best care for mother and child.

“Women outside Dublin and the main maternity hospitals do not have access to this important scan.”

Ms O’Reilly pointed out that, in some cases, anomaly scans are only carried out “where clinically indicated”.

“But this is a screening test, if they don’t have it they can’t know that it is ‘clinically indicated’.

She added, if the HSE is going to expand the provision of these scans, then it needs to know how many women require it, how many machines are required and how many staff to operate them.