The HSE has confirmed the opening of a new scanning service for pregnant women at Portlaoise hospital and also announced that births increased there last year.
Despite all the bad press, the HSE confirmed the higher annual birth figures for 2017, in a statement announcing the new anatomy scanning services.
“In 2017, the number of mothers delivered in MRHP was 3% ahead of expected activity, with 1,531 babies born last year,” said a statement.
Numbers fell after the controversy that engulfed the hospital in 2014. This led to a drop off in births and health authorities predicted that the decline would continue.
However, the figures confirm that women are once again choosing Portlaoise as a safe place to have a baby.
After the controversy, the hospital was placed under the stewardship of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital. Extra staff and resources were also provided.
The figures were published as the HSE confirmed it had begun providing a new Anatomy Scanning Service the commencement of which was revealed by the Leinster Express last December.
The HSE said the MRHP is one of the first of the smaller maternity units in Ireland to offer this service to women.
An anatomy scan is a scan which is performed between 18 and 22 weeks. It gives parents a more detailed view of their baby. Referral to the anatomy service is arranged by the woman’s consultant obstetrician following the booking visit to the hospital and is strictly by appointment only.
Dr Michael O’Connell is Clinical Director for Integration, Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and Portlaoise Hospital.
“As one of the first of the smaller maternity units to offer an anatomy scan to all patients, it demonstrates the value of managed clinical network in aligning services between larger and smaller maternity units to the benefit of women who attend the service. This project has been an important development in advancing maternity care for women in collaboration with the managed clinical network existing with the CWIUH and forms a key component of our continued quality improvement for maternity services,” he said.
Maureen Revilles is Director of Midwifery.
“We are very pleased to announce the commencement of this service. I would like to acknowledge the midwifery staff, and the wider hospital management, whose focus is responding to the needs of the women who attend our services.
“This is another step on our journey to providing enhanced maternity care for the women of the Midlands. It also demonstrates the advancing role of the midwife in the maternity services as part of the multidisciplinary team providing the best maternity care to women”, she concluded.
Michael Knowles, General Manager said that the establishment of the anatomy scanning service is critical to the developments planned to enhance services and choice.
“We have undertaken a substantial body of work to enhance and develop maternity services and we are really pleased to announce this new service,” he said.
Yvonne Young, Midwife Ultrasonographer who is providing the service and has trained for the last two years at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and is currently undertaking a Masters in Ultrasound in University College Dublin.
“I am delighted to be the first midwife to deliver this service in Portlaoise Hospital. I have received very positive feedback from patients who feel reassured by having the scan and this demonstrates the real benefits,” she said.
The service was secured following substantial investment by the hospital and Dublin Midlands Hospital Group to fund the equipping of a newly refurbished ultrasound room. Through the managed clinical network the Coombe Women Infants University Hospital supported the facilitation of the training of a midwife ultrasonographer.
Aideen Fitzpatrick is 29 weeks pregnant with her first baby, and is attending Portlaoise Hospital.
“I am very lucky to have been able to attend for this important scan in my local hospital. It provides real peace of mind as this is my first pregnancy. The midwifery staff are very supportive to me,” she said.
Mr Trevor O’Callaghan, CEO of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, on a visit to Portlaoise Hospital viewed the service and met with the Hospital team.
“The Hospital Group is delighted to announce this vital service for the women who attend the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
“This development demonstrates the substantial work that has been undertaken in Portlaoise Hospital in line with the National Maternity Strategy and our commitment to strengthen the maternity network between Portlaoise Hospital and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital.
“I would like to commend the Hospital and its entire staff and I look forward to continuing our work to deliver and develop services into the future,” he said.
Doctors in Portlaoise have put forward a plan which says that the future of services at Portlaoise can be secured and developed by replicating the partnership with the Coombe and creating networks with the other Dublin and Midlands hospitals.