Rotunda chief warns health service is failing women
The new Master of the Rotunda maternity hospital says patients are being forced to wait for up to nine months for gynaecology appointments that can detect cancer.
Professor Fergal Malone, who is beginning a seven-year term at the 250-year-old maternity hospital, talked to the Irish Daily Mail today about how one of his main priorities going forward will be to overhaul services for women with a range of benign gynaecological conditions, who currently are being pushed to the bottom of some very long waiting lists.
"We are going to be interviewing three new consultant obstetrician gynaecologists early this year to be jointly appointed between the Rotunda and Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown," he explains.
The gynaecological services for the greater Dublin area and the RSCI group of hospitals, which includes counties in the north-east of the country, are today greatly under-served, according to Malone, and the current treatment and appointment delays are "increasing the risk that some women's cancers will be missed."
The newly appointed hospital chief, who seems determined to make some long overdue changes to Irish maternity care, also hits out at a so-called "postcode lottery" for scans, which means that foetal abnormalities may not be spotted, as well as calling for the abortion law to be extended to allow terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.
The hospital master, who is himself a father or four, spoke of how women currently have to make the emotional journey abroad to terminate a pregnancy where there is no chance the baby would survive anyway - and endure the trauma of having to travel home with their baby's remains in the back of the car, or even worse, delivered back home in a "DHL box."
Malone is determined Irish women should have the right to have the procedure carried out in Ireland.
"We would like to perform the complete care of our patients here at our hospital," Malone said. "We see patients who are very troubled and traumatized by this. Day in and day out we have a challenge around this group and we would like to change. We have a very clear position on it."
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