Press Release

Memorandum of Understanding between Coombe & HSE is significant for patients – Varadkar

Minister Varadkar - MOU Portlaoise - CoomeMinister for Health Leo Varadkar has welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and the HSE to establish the country’s first managed maternity network in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

The new governance model will create a single maternity service operating over two geographical sites – the Coombe and the Midlands Hospital Portlaoise . This is a key recommendation in the Chief Medical Officer’s report on perinatal deaths at Portlaoise Hospital. In particular, it’s a significant step for patients because it will allow the sharing of medical expertise and for extra resources.

The Board of the Coombe yesterday gave approval to finalise the Memorandum which was signed this morning at Dr Steevens’ Hospital in Dublin. The terms were agreed following wide-ranging discussions between the hospital and the HSE over the past year.

Work has been underway for some time to strengthen Portlaoise as a hospital with a new manager and extra consultants appointed, and its incorporation into the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. The Memorandum will allow further additional resources to be supplied to develop the network.

The Minister thanked everyone involved in developing the new model, and in particular acknowledged the leadership, commitment and motivation demonstrated by the parties.

“This Memorandum of Understanding is a significant step in improving our maternity services. Patient safety and service quality should always be our top priority, right across the health service. This Memorandum is good news for patients and potential future patients at both Portlaoise and the Coombe,” Minister Varadkar said.

“I want to thank both hospitals and the HSE for reaching this significant agreement. With this Memorandum we now have the template, and I want the HSE to replicate this governance arrangement across all Hospital Groups. This will ensure that smaller maternity services are supported to provide quality and safe maternity care for women and babies”.