Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has said that a pregnant woman’s Eircode should not dictate whether or not she receives a 20 week anomaly scan.
Deputy Troy was commenting after the release of figures from a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee where the National Maternity Strategy was debated.
“At present, access to anomaly scans is patchy with large swathes of the country not having a dedicated service.
“Women in Dublin can, by and large, receive the scan, but pregnant women in other parts of the country aren’t so lucky. Following pressure I exerted on the Minister last year I was delighted to secure funding for a full anomaly scan service in Mullingar from 2018. Having questioned the Minister on the roll-out of this service recently I have been informed that approval has been received from the National Women and Infants Programme for the appointment of an additional resource for anomaly scanning. The service is expected to be in place shortly and will be a welcome development for all expectant mothers in the area.
“20 week anomaly scans are critical for identifying potential foetal abnormalities by checking the baby’s bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen.
“The provision of anomaly scans is standard practice at the country’s dedicated maternity hospitals in Dublin and Cork, however smaller maternity units do not offer the imaging service.
“My colleague Niamh Smyth has fought tooth and nail for the service to be extended to Cavan General Hospital. While agreement has been reached to provide the service, the HSE keep failing to roll it out as they can’t recruit the staff needed to perform the scans and interpret the results.
“Too many pregnancies are going without these scans, and it’s totally unfair on the expectant mothers.
“Access to critical health services in this country should not be based on a person’s Eircode. If maternity services are being offered locally, then the full service should be offered,” concluded Troy.