Fears for maternity services in three hospitals
FEARS are growing that maternity services in Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon may be under threat as part of a new rationalisation plan.
It would mean that pregnant women in the west and north-west could potentially be confined to two maternity units in Galway and Letterkenny, forcing them to travel long distances to give birth.
A spokeswoman for the West/North West Hospital Group confirmed that a review of services is under way but she added it will be a number of months before it is complete.
The review is looking at maternity units at University Hospital Galway, Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe, Mayo General Hospital, Sligo Regional Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital.
"The preliminary report does not recommend the closure of any maternity unit," the spokeswoman said.
The review was in response to a series of reports into Ireland's maternity services.
The HSE established a national group to oversee the implementation of a series of recommendations arising from these reports.
However, Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary said fears that the west will be left with maternity units only in University Hospital Galway and Letterkenny General Hospital "are causing great shock and distress right across the region".
"The notion that expectant mothers would have to travel from Mayo to Galway for maternity services is simply outrageous," he said. "People deserve clarification now," he added.