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Frustration at delay in appointments of pregnancy loss bereavement staff

Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, Consultant Obstetrician at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), has welcomed recent HSE advertisements for the appointment of specialist midwives in maternity units following the delays.

Approval to advertise for the posts following support for funding occurred in May 2016 but advertisements for posts have only recently been placed, the Medical Independent (MI) understands. Dr O’Donoghue stressed that the bereavement specialist midwife is a “vital individual” in maternity units.

“If we don’t have one member of staff who is the specialist responsible for this, how are we going to have a bereavement team? That has been a frustration but it appears we are now making progress and that the majority of those posts are now being advertised,” Dr O’Donoghue told MI

“One midwife is going to achieve very little if she doesn’t have the support of her peers and management… I think that realisation is there in maternity units and some already have a strong culture in bereavement care, even in the absence of specialist staff.”

In a statement to MI, a HSE spokesperson said that 10 maternity units have a dedicated person in place and that recruitment for the remaining nine positions is “expected to commence shortly”.

The recruitment process has been delayed due to a revision of the national job description for Clinical Nurse/Midwife Specialists, the spokesperson added.

“The Saolta University Health Care Group posts have been advertised — proposed interview dates [are due] in July 2017,” said the spokesperson.

‘The South/South West Hospital Group positions are currently back at Group following job specification revisions.  Ireland East Hospital Group has two vacancies (Mullingar and Wexford). Posts are ready to be advertised and it is expected that this will happen shortly.”

The HSE said it plans to have the specialists in all 19 maternity hospitals/units as soon as recruitment is complete. “It is difficult to predict when this will occur, as it is dependent on a successful outcome to the recruitment process.”

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