Health Minister calls on HSE to query consultants' abortion services concerns

Health Minister calls on HSE to query consultants' abortion services concerns

The Health Minister has asked his department to engage with the HSE to establish how four consultant obstetricians at a Kilkenny hospital have “decided unanimously” that their unit is not a suitable location for abortion services.

Simon Harris said additional resources had been allocated to provide termination of pregnancy services this year, “including the provision of services at St Luke’s” in Kilkenny.

He said it was department policy that all 19 maternity units — not just the current 10 — should be in a position to provide terminations as per the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

On Saturday, the Irish Examiner reported that four consultant obstetricians at St Luke’s General Hospital had written to Mary Day, CEO of the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG), saying the “addition of a termination service is not possible for a multitude of challenging reasons” — reasons that were not specified.

Furthermore, “in the event of professional and values training of staff willing to participate in such procedures, the hospital remains an unsuitable location for these services”, the letter said.

The letter, from Ray O’Sullivan on behalf of himself and three other obstetricians, including prominent anti-abortion campaigner Trevor Hayes, was also sent to GPs.

Mr Hayes said St Luke’s did not have a referral pathway to Holles St maternity hospital, which is in the same hospital group. He said he understood Wexford General Hospital was also not providing terminations.

St Luke's
St Luke's

A spokesperson for the IEHG said it was working with St Luke’s to prepare for the implementation of terminations “as part of the national roll out of the service”, but that, “in order to provide this specialised service, the hospital must have the clinical capacity and must include appropriate training of all key personnel”.

The spokesperson said a values clarification programme had commenced, and further education would be ongoing.

It had advertised for an additional consultant obstetrician.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland called on the HSE to “urgently clarify how they will ensure abortion services are provided across all of the country’s maternity units”.

NWCI women’s health co-ordinator Cliona Loughnane said the consultants’ letter “shows blatant disregard for the health of women and the overwhelming will of the Irish people”.

She also raised concerns about the delay in introducing safety zone legislation “to prevent women being... intimidated when accessing a legal healthcare service”.

The department said the intention was to submit proposals to the minister as soon as possible.

More on this topic

Northern Irish campaigners hail ‘historic’ Westminster vote on abortion and same-sex marriageNorthern Irish campaigners hail ‘historic’ Westminster vote on abortion and same-sex marriage

Pro-choice campaigner wept after vote to make abortion lawful in NorthPro-choice campaigner wept after vote to make abortion lawful in North

Demand for post-abortion support more than doubles, Cork Sexual Health Centre reportsDemand for post-abortion support more than doubles, Cork Sexual Health Centre reports

‘10,000 signatures in 48 hours’ to Theresa May opposing liberalisation of NI abortion laws‘10,000 signatures in 48 hours’ to Theresa May opposing liberalisation of NI abortion laws

More in this Section

Judge strikes out charge against man who caused €3,000 of damage in attempt to escape from liftJudge strikes out charge against man who caused €3,000 of damage in attempt to escape from lift

Almost one in three disability centres fail to ensure residents adequately safeguarded in 2018Almost one in three disability centres fail to ensure residents adequately safeguarded in 2018

Boy, 8, awarded €25,000 after hot chocolate spill on Ryanair flightBoy, 8, awarded €25,000 after hot chocolate spill on Ryanair flight

DUP praises ‘committed Unionist’ Johnson as other NI parties express concernDUP praises ‘committed Unionist’ Johnson as other NI parties express concern


Lifestyle

Homemade ice pops are handy for many reasons, they refresh on a warm day, but also you know exactly what is in them; no strange colourings or preservatives.Michelle Darmody's home made ice pops

Sometimes travel can be more about the journey than the destination, as Caroline Hennessy and her family discovered when they took a 13-hour overnight journey from San Sebastián to Lisbon to check out the Trenhotel experienceTravelling by train in Europe - with kids

The Great Hack looks at the implications of the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, writes Laura Harding.When tech firms go bad: Netflix's new documentary on Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal

Often hailed as one of the greatest animated films ever made, The Lion King has a special place in the hearts of generations of children.New King of the jungle: The director behind The Lion King remake

More From The Irish Examiner