Deputy Regina Doherty today (Thursday 17th November) addressed members of Irish Premature Babies along with the Neonatal Sub Committee and the European Foundation of the Newborn Infants (EFCNI). Doherty spoke on the growing issue of prematurity in Ireland and the need for a National Neonatal health care programme at the Royal College of Physicians on Nassau St.
Deputy Doherty was contacted by the Premature Babies group to address the launch of the Irish Chapter of the European Foundation of the Newborn Infants today, World Premature Awareness Day. This group aims to promote policy on Neonatal care in Ireland as well as promoting supports for parents of those infants born prematurely. The event which was sponsored by Abbott Laboratories was chaired by Dr. John Murphy, National Clinical lead for neonatology in Ireland and marks a milestone in the life of the Irish Premature Babies.
Deputy Doherty says “I was flattered to be asked to address this meeting on such an important and often overlooked issue. Over 4500 babies are born pre-term in Ireland and of that studies show nearly 500 will pass away. Although this is a huge number, it is not for the lack of the fantastic care which is done by the neonatologists in the 19 maternity units throughout Ireland.”
“I was shocked and dismayed when I contacted the HSE and was informed that in Ireland we do not have a Neonatal Healthcare policy. We have superb health care professionals in all our maternity hospitals, providing the best practice in neonatal care, but it is fragmented with significant disparities across the country; hospitals are working in isolation. The establishment of a national neonatal health care programme governing all aspects of neonatal health in Ireland is essential.”
“Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly assured me that he is aware of these issues and the need for them to be addressed. The HSE is currently working to identify areas of specific and projected needs in paediatrics nationally to ensure the best class of care in Paediatric services going forward and have provided additional funding to support this.”
“As a member of the Joint Committee of Health and Children I will not let this issue fall by the wayside and will work to make sure that the development of such policy stays on the political agenda.”