Representatives of Wexford Sinn Féin were among the gathering at a recent meeting called to reverse the cuts to the Domino Midwife services at Wexford General Hospital. Cllr Anthony Kelly pledged his and Sinn Féins full support to this issue and the attempts to get these secretive cuts overturned.
The Domino scheme offers midwifery care from the beginning of pregnancy, during labour, and until your baby is 5-10 days old. Currently between ninety to one hundred women are being cared for by this service in County Wexford. As well as this, the service also reliefs pressure on the already under siege maternity ward at Wexford General Hospital.
The cuts to the domino service (which haven’t been officially announced to the public, but have been revealed to the midwives and some mothers to be) are being introduced by hospital management. This is not a directive from the HSE, though the hospital will claim they are saving money to meet the HSE’s budgetary demands. The shocking thing is that if implemented these cuts will not only fail to save money, they will end up costing more.
According to AIMS Ireland, there is a saving of €300 for every woman who uses the domino service. Homebirth is 68% cheaper than standard maternity ward deliveries. Even the HSE itself recognises that the domino service was a success. One of the few successes they’ve had. In a 2007 report, they claimed that 10% savings could be made by using the domino service.
The rumour mill suggests that a consultant at Wexford General has proposed these cuts. Who would benefit from the loss of the domino service? Consultants. Mother and unborn child will certainly not benefit. Wexford General Hospitals maternity ward is already running at double capacity. The chances of unnecessary procedures being carried out on a woman in labour is greatly increased if she’s giving birth in a busy maternity ward.
If the domino service is removed, pregnant women in county Wexford will be put at risk, regardless if they had planned to use the domino service or not. The new influx into WGH’s maternity ward will place the brilliant staff there under inhumane pressure, and endanger the births of Wexford children. Is this an attempt to set up a situation of meltdown, allowing James O’ Reilly to come along later and close services at Wexford Hospital as it’s is endangering patients?
Some will claim that the domino service (and any other targeted unit) will only be closed for a limited time. Last year St Aidans ward was closed for a limited period and never returned in a full capacity. Ten years ago the domino service was discontinued for a limited time in Galway. It never returned. If the people of Wexford fail to stand up for this vital service, then it will disappear and never return.