A CITY consultant has said that the Government and the HSE have failed to produce any contingency plan for the exodus of more than one in five of the midwives at the Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital.
But the HSE has hit back that such plans are being developed but won’t be made known until the exact number of those leaving is determined.
Between 15 and 20 midwives are expected to retire next month under the exit scheme that allows public servants to get lump sums and pensions based on salary levels prior to the deductions introduced in the Government’s austerity drive.
But consultant obstetrician Dr Gerry Burke said the latest round of retirements will mean the maternity hospital “will have lost 47 midwives out of its complement of just over 200” in the space of a year.
“The shortfall of over 20 per cent of midwifery staff will diminish the quality of maternity care these women and babies receive.”
“It is obvious that the HSE is prepared to collude with the Department of Health in making pregnant women and their newborn babies contribute to paying for the gambling losses of German and other international banks and for the fiscal recklessness of previous governments. Unfortunately, some women and babies may pay for it with their lives,” said Dr Burke, who is also chairman of the Labour Party in Limerick city.