Retention of all maternity hospitals should be considered - Gilmore

Decision should be made in light of report on death of Savita Halappanavar, says Tánaiste

Tánaiste Eamon  Gilmore asked what the reaction would be if Minister for Health Dr James Reilly came into the Dáil and said he wanted a smaller number of better equipped and better quality maternity hospitals. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore asked what the reaction would be if Minister for Health Dr James Reilly came into the Dáil and said he wanted a smaller number of better equipped and better quality maternity hospitals. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said retaining all of the States 19 maternity hospitals should be considered following the report on the death of Savita Halappanavar.

He said the issue should be looked at in terms of the deployment of our resources, and that it was a matter for everybody in the Dáil.

Mr Gilmore asked what the reaction would be if Minister for Health Dr James Reilly came into the Dáil and said he wanted a smaller number of better equipped and better quality maternity hospitals.

He said the report did not spare any level of the health service, from the ward to the Minister’s office. He added there was no issue of exoneration at any level arising from it. This is not a time for anybody to be exonerating themselves, he added.

The Tánaiste was replying in the Dáil today to Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher and Sinn Féin spokeswoman Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms McDonald said people wanted answers as to how accountability would be delivered. She also asked about the issue of resources, considering next Tuesday is Budget day when decisions on spending will be revealed.

Mr Kelleher said the report was difficult reading, particularly for women and those at the frontline of the health services. The lack of resources had been highlighted, he added.

Mr Gilmore said the report had implications for people at every level of the health service and Government, management and delivery of services.

He said there had to be accountability for what happened and also for the implementation of the report’s recommendations.

He suggested the Oireachtas health committee hear from the relevant people with questions to answer. Over a period of time, it could also address the implementation of the recommendations.

“I do not believe this report should be let rest; I do not believe it should let lie,” he added.