Government plans for gynaecology services in the Midlands.
Updated: Jun 24
I was delighted today to welcome the development of ambulatory gynaecology clinics in the Midlands and elsewhere, they will improve access to gynaecology services, reduce the requirement for multiple gynaecology appointments, ensure sustainability of service provision into the future given the very significant waiting lists for this specialty and importantly, help improve clinical outcomes.
The Ambulatory Gynaecology Model of Care means one-stop “see and treat” ambulatory gynaecology clinics. An estimated 70% of general gynaecology referrals are suitable for management in the ambulatory setting, and is, therefore, considered to be a more efficient and effective use of resources than the traditional outpatient model. Investigations available include pelvic ultrasound, diagnostic hysteroscopy, and endometrial biopsy.
Nenagh’s recently opened regional hub for women’s health, which includes a specialist menopause clinic, is the first ambulatory gynaecology clinic to be operational for women in the Midlands counties.
I am conscious however that Nenagh is a considerable distance from much of the rest of the Midlands, - even my own home in North Offaly is over an hour by car from Nenagh.
I was delighted to report, therefore, that work is already underway on the recruitment, refurbishment and equipping of an ambulatory gynaecology clinic in Portlaoise, which is expected to be operational this year. Funding has also been provided for further ambulatory gynaecology clinics, including one in Mullingar and one in Kilkenny, thereby completing the implementation of the Ambulatory Gynaecology Model of Care, bringing the total number of these clinics to 20 nationally.
In relation to maternity services, and Midlands services specifically, funding of €223,000 and almost €400,000 was provided in 2021 to Midlands Regional Hospitals Mullingar and Portlaoise respectively for the recruitment of additional staff into maternity services at the hospitals.
This included 5 Clinical Midwifery Managers for both hospital and community-based services, a medical Social Worker and Healthcare Assistants in Portlaoise and an Assistant Director of Midwifery in Mullingar.
The above developments will contribute to greatly improved access to and quality of care for women who need to avail of it, and I look forward to hearing from Midlands women about their experiences of these services on the ground over the coming months and years.