herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Rotunda to get €1m mortuary facilities despite plan to move

Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith
Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith

More than €1m will be spent redeveloping mortuary facilities at the Rotunda Hospital despite plans to move the maternity hospital from its city centre location in Dublin.

The major State investment is underway at the hospital and is expected to be completed by November.

An ongoing need for post mortem examinations exists to ascertain the cause of deaths, miscarriages, and stillbirths. There is still no funding or date given for the hospital to relocate to the Connolly Hospital campus in Blanchardstown.

Pregnancy

The Rotunda will provide post mortem services for maternity units in the North East, specifically in Drogheda and Cavan.

"The new regional service is to be provided to all patients of the various hospitals in the region," said a hospital spokesperson.

"It will help to inform medical staff and relevant patients about causes or issues surrounding pregnancy loss through miscarriages, stillbirth or neonatal deaths," he told the Herald.

"The information may give comfort of knowledge of the cause of the loss and may assist some parents in future family planning. This is a service that will immediately benefit all patients," he said.

The Rotunda is a key hospital in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Hospital Group region.

"Each year, around 14,000 babies are born in the region," said the spokesperson.

"The time frame for when the Rotunda would re-locate to the campus at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown is not yet decided.

Babies

"Funding for the project is yet to be identified and agreed by the Government," he said.

"From a best-practice perspective, this new service should be provided to mothers and their babies as soon as is practicable.

"The redevelopment should be completed by November of this year," he added.

A case was put forward two years ago to support the development of a regional perinatal pathology service.

A hospital spokesperson told the Medical Independent that "a primary objective of the planned service to investigate foetal, perinatal and early neonatal deaths, predominantly by post-mortem examination".

Plans for the eventual building of a new Rotunda Hospital on the Connolly Hospital campus will allow the development of state-of-the-art maternity and gynaecology facilities co- located with an adult hospital facility, said the Master of the Rotunda Dr Sam Coulter-Smith on June 30.

"We will be able to look after our sickest mothers on site, as well as ensuring our well mothers have the very best infrastructure and services.

"Sick mothers and their babies will no longer have to be separated and looked after in different hospitals," said Dr Coulter-Smith.

The existing hospital is not fit to continue providing a modern maternity and gynaecology service in the long term, he said.

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