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first_imgThe closure of up to four obstetric units including Letterkenny General Hospital is mooted in a confidential report commissioned by the HSE.Letterkenny HospitalThe units at Ballinasloe, Castlebar, Sligo and/or Letterkenny could close as part of a reconfiguration of maternity services in the two regions, according to options set out in the politically explosive report, seen by The Irish Times.While the HSE says no decisions have been made yet, the study by consultants the Health Partnership makes it clear that “significant changes” are needed in the way services are delivered. The development of midwife-led units, either alongside obstetric units or on a standalone basis, is recommended in the study.A system of centralised booking for expectant mothers, which would see women directed to the appropriate centre for care “based on admission criteria”, as well as the rotation of staff through each area, are also recommended.Fianna Fáil health spokesman Marc MacSharry, who raised the issue in the Seanad yesterday, said the report confirmed that the HSE was strongly considering dramatically downgrading maternity services.“There are reports that plans are already under way to shut down the maternity unit at Portiuncula as soon as the local and European elections are over, and transfer patients to University Hospital Galway, ” he said. “For the Government to keep this major change to our local health services a secret until after polling day is deeply cynical and deeply unfair to expectant mothers who are due their babies at Portiuncula very soon. “If these plans go ahead, it would amount to a major downgrading of obstetrician-led maternity services in this region. It is completely unacceptable to consider shutting down the maternity unit in Sligo and forcing expectant mothers to travel hours to Letterkenny or Galway city to see an obstetrician.”LETTERKENNY MATERNITY UNIT ONE OF FOUR ON LIST WHICH COULD BE CLOSED was last modified: May 14th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more