07 Jul 2022

Local Kildare mums to lose out as maternity services clinic not returning to Naas Hospital

Naas Hospital with sign

Naas General Hospital

Naas General Hospital can no longer host a weekly maternity services clinic in partnership with the Coombe Hospital as the space used for the facility is now needed to care for Covid-19 patients, it has emerged.

Previously, local expectant mothers could book appointments to receive check-ups, scans and blood tests in Naas without having to travel all the way to the Coombe in Dublin. However the clinic in the Outpatients’ Department, which was in operation for around 20 years, was suspended at the start of the pandemic.

The Leader has now learned that the service will not be returning to Naas Hospital and will instead be transferred to another location in the HSE's Dublin Midlands Hospital Group catchment area which covers parts of Dublin as well as Kildare, Laois and Offaly.


A spokesperson for the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group said: “In April 2020, the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital centralized their clinics in response to the Covid pandemic.
“Unfortunately Naas General Hospital is not in a position for these clinics to return onsite at this time given the increasingly high numbers of Covid-19 cases onsite and active outbreaks, as well as our lack of clinical space to ensure social distancing guidelines.”
The statement added: “The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital are working with the Dublin Midland Hospital Group to find a long-term alternative location.
“We would hope that this will be achieved in the second half of 2022.”

Naas Hospital saw the number of patients with Covid-19 rise above 60 last month putting it among the top 10 highest hospitals in the country.
However the number of cases had reduced to under 30 in recent days.
The Naas Local Electoral Area, which has a population of around 30,000 people, also continues to have one of the highest incident rates of the virus per 100,000 people in the country.

It is understood that expectant mothers in the Kildare area have been contacting the Coombe Hospital in recent weeks to inquire about the Naas clinic.
The clinic was usually held on a Thursday afternoon and evening and saw up to 100 women every week, who availed of services such as consultant visits and reviews, scans, midwife reviews and blood tests.
A source said: “Most Kildare women had all their care in Naas Hospital and only came to the Coombe to deliver their baby.
“Due to Kildare’s large population, up to 1,500 babies from the county were born in the Coombe every years.
“This gives you an idea of the number of women who are really losing out on not having maternity services in Naas available to them.”

A spokesperson for the Coombe Hospital said: “We are working with the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group to find a long-term solution to the relocation of this service within the Midlands area.
“We would hope that this will be achieved in the second half of 2022.”

The issue has been raised with local TD and Minister of State Martin Heydon and Sinn Féin TD Reada Cronin.

Cllr Peggy O'Dwyer told the Leader that having the clinic in Naas provided enormous benefits for expectant Kildare mothers and their families and added that relocating it to an area such as Portlaoise would not be beneficial for these patients.

Cllr O'Dwyer said:

"Kildare needs this service to be recommenced back in the county. I will be submitting a question to the Regional Health Forum of which I am a member. We are moving out of the pandemic and my fear is that it may be lost to the people of Kildare which would be a step backwards considering it was identified many years ago."

In a statment the politician added:

"While the service was in Naas Hospital it was welcomed by both the hospital and the mothers that attended there.There was a mutual respect for the services and staff from both hospitals had an excellent relationship working side by side.
"Most importantly, the mothers that accessed the clinic appreciated it most.
"The benefits were enormous from being able to attend a clinic in their county, a family-friendly service, reduced waiting time as the clinics are smaller and returning to work on the day of appointment.
"The close proximity and excellent parking facilities were the positive factors. Many mums requested to attend this clinic.
"For student midwives there was the learning opportunity to practice supervised outside of their teaching hospital which many valued."

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