Hospital delivered over 40 babies in one day
THE country's main maternity hospital coped with more than 40 babies being born in the space of a day on several occasions last year.
The baby boom also left the hospital struggling with 20 births in just eight hours on other occasions, the annual report of the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street showed.
Some 9,318 births took place in the what was was the busiest year in the history of the hospital. That was a 47pc surge since 1994, the hospital's master Dr Michael Robson said.
However, he echoed the recent criticism of the master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter Smith, who warned that maternity services were suffering a fall in funding at a time when the birth rate continued to rise.
Dr Robson said the hospital did not put a cap on the numbers of women it accepted last year. "The problem, as in previous years, is that there is no other place for these women to deliver," he said.
Holles Street's ability to cope with the numbers because of limited space and other resources has now been "stretched to the absolute limit and a decision about our future can and should wait no longer", Dr Robson added.
The hospital has been promised that it will be relocated to the campus of St Vincent's Hospital for many years, but it is still unclear when this will happen -- even though it was included in the Health Service Executive's (HSE) capital plan.
Last year, it had to upgrade the rewiring of its electrical service, some of which pre-dated 1940. Of the 9,318 babies who weighed more than 550g -- 75 were either stillborn or died within a week and there was one maternal death.
Although it is now becoming the norm in many European countries to offer pregnant women a scan in the first and second trimester the hospital said resources did not allow it follow this practice at present.
The hospital also had 2,500 admissions to its neonatal intensive care unit, which looks after very sick babies including very low weight infants, a major rise in the last decade.
It said the HSE gave the go-ahead in 2007 for a building project that would include the development of a new neonatal unit but this funding has been withdrawn.
The hospital's rate of caesarean section was 19.8pc, a rise on the 2008 figure, but low by national standards.