Sunday 21 July 2019

More pregnant women to avail of a 20-week scan

 

Safe hands: Professor John Higgins, Fidelma Harrington, acting CMM3 ultrasound, and patient Michelle Twohig, from Cork. Photo: Gerard McCarthy
Safe hands: Professor John Higgins, Fidelma Harrington, acting CMM3 ultrasound, and patient Michelle Twohig, from Cork. Photo: Gerard McCarthy
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

All pregnant women will be able to avail of 20-week anomaly scans across the south and south-west region.

The routine availability of the scan - which can detect fatal foetal abnormalities - was previously denied to thousands of women.

However, it will now be on offer in the four maternity units of the South and South-West Hospital Group, including Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), alongside the maternity units in University Hospital Waterford (UHW), University Hospital Kerry (UHK) and South Tipperary General Hospital (STGH).

The upcoming abortion law is to allow for a termination of pregnancy in cases where a woman seeks the procedure after receiving a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis.

A number of other hospitals across the country are still failing to provide the scan on a routine basis.

Professor John Higgins, clinical director, said: "Equal access to maternity services across CUMH, UHW, UHK and STGH is key for us in the Maternity Directorate. Together we deliver one in five babies nationally."

A spokesperson added: "This is significant progress for the South and South-West Hospital Group as not all maternity unit locations had the required number of trained sonographers available.

"It has taken considerable time to train and recruit sonographers to ensure an equal service is in place across the region.

"It takes two years for a midwife to complete the required Masters in ultra sonography. The Maternity Directorate is committed to an ongoing training and development programme to ensure sustainable service provision."

Meanwhile, preparations are continuing for the rollout of abortion services from January once the legislation is signed into law by President Michael D Higgins.

A number of training meetings for doctors are continuing, but some GPs are critical of a training session being held on Friday in Dublin, which they will find difficult to attend.

Companies which indemnify the GPs are insisting they be trained in order to get cover.

Irish Independent

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