Spat over women’s hospital services

by Gazette Reporter
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A war of words is being waged between two local representatives over the future of north Dublin maternity hospitals.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has called on Cllr Jack Chambers (FF) to withdraw remarks he made that suggest maternity services are unsafe, calling the comments a “gross and disgraceful calumny against the staff”.
Cllr Chambers called on Minister Varadkar to have the Rotunda Hospital co-located on the grounds of Connolly in Blanchardstown.
He alleged that the Government has failed to act on any of the proposals in the Independent Review of Maternity Services in the Greater Dublin Area carried out by advisory service KPMG and published in 2008. The review recommended that older maternity hospitals such as the Rotunda should be either co- or tri-located with another hospital.
A HSE report recommended that the Rotunda be co-located with the Mater Hospital, but Cllr Chambers believes Connolly is the best location.
He said: “Maternity services in Dublin are at breaking point, and will remain under severe pressure until Minister Varadkar begins implementing the recommendations of the HSE ordered maternity report.
“Connolly Hospital is the ideal strategic location for the future relocation of services from the Rotunda. I am urging the Minister to move without delay to co-locate the Rotunda maternity services at the campus.
“Minister Varadkar needs to move on from his public relations offensive, and start taking the tough decisions on healthcare where he has yet to prove himself.”
Minister Varadkar responded saying: “Cllr Chambers is talking through his hat. The KPMG report recommended the Rotunda move to the Mater. This decision was endorsed by the last Fianna Fail-led Governnment and I assume it remains Fianna Fail policy unless they state otherwise, which they have not.
“That recommendation is now under review by my Department given the changes in population that have happened since then. This review has not been completed nor submitted to me and therefore cannot be published.
“I am disgusted at Cllr Chamber’s suggestion that somehow maternity services in Dublin are unsafe. It is gross and disgraceful calumny against the staff of the Rotunda, Coombe and Holles Street, many of whom live locally. I call on him to withdraw his remarks.”

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