Following a scoping inquiry into the CervicalCheck programme, the Women’s Health Taskforce was established by the Department of Health in September 2019 in an effort to improve Irish women’s health outcomes and experiences of healthcare.
Improving gynaecological health and health services were seen as being initial priorities in the task force’s two-year action programme.
And this week, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has just announced new funding for two “key” women’s health projects as a result of this.
Firstly, a €641,000 investment will go towards an expansion of an endometriosis service at Tallaght University Hospital in Dublin, involving a specialist endometriosis centre for the management and treatment of all forms of endometriosis, with particular focus on advanced and complex cases for which there is no ready access in Ireland.
The provision of a “secure, supported, expanded and specialist” service in Tallaght University Hospital is, according to Donnelly, hoped to help to improve both clinical outcomes and overall care experience for women suffering from this debilitating condition, which is thought to affect as many as one in 10 women in Ireland today.
As well as the large-scale new specialist centre in Dublin, the Minister for Health also announced the provision of two community-based ‘see-and-treat’ gynaecology services, governed by Tallaght University Hospital, and University Maternity Hospital Limerick, though located in Nenagh General Hospital.
These in-the-community clinics are proposed to function as one-stop ‘see-and-treat’ services, where women can attend simply be producing a referral letter from their GP.
“This service will address a clear and identified need,” Donnelly said.
“As gynaecology services are acknowledged and recognised as being a service area that continues to be under significant and growing pressure.”