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Call for national perinatal palliative care services

At its general motions session on 10 April, the Organisation backed a motion calling for the Minister to “bring forward proposals and make provision” for access to perinatal palliative care in Ireland.

Proposing the motion, GP Dr John Kehoe said that there were many excellent palliative care services available for elderly and terminally-ill populations.

The purpose of the motion was to ensure that there were also standardised services available for all children and parents of children diagnosed perinatally or neonatally with a potentially terminal or life-limiting illness.

Dr Kehoe underlined that he recognised the compassionate work already being done in this area by doctors and nurses, but the area required protocols so that “state-of-the-art treatment” be accessible to all patients and families, regardless of their geography or the hospital they were attending.

Those working in the area “would agree there is a need for more formality,” he added.

Seconding the motion, GP Dr Nicola de Faoite said services at present are not uniform throughout the country.

Referring to international research that indicated a need to have perinatal palliative care programmes available in obstetric and neonatal units — in light of the significance and complexity of this care — Dr de Faoite concluded that this service should be more available in Ireland.

There was also a need for national guidelines and a national policy on the issue, she added.

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