Press Release

Tánaiste announces new National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre in Cork University Hospital

New unit will improve clinical services for mothers and babies by monitoring all data from Irish maternity units.

Speaking in Dáil Eireann this morning on the Lourdes Hospital Inquiry Report, the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D., announced the establishment this year of a new National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre in Cork University Hospital.

“The centre will be up and running in the autumn of this year. It will be funded by €630,000 in a full year. This means that every time a mother gives birth in this country, the important interventions, the good outcomes and the complications will be recorded and analysed at a national specialist centre. Unusual trends will be easily and quickly observed and most importantly acted on.

“The centre has been designed based on models from Australia. The immediate priorities for the centre are devising a single identical maternity chart for every maternity hospital in the country. This is the first very important step in re-establishing trust and ensuring that services to mothers and their babies born in Ireland are based on the best possible research.”

The immediate priorities for the Unit will be:

  • the development of a national maternity chart for Ireland;
  • a national agreed perinatal data set including recording all relevant interventions, outcomes and complications for each birth;
  • standardised data collection across all maternity units with one labour ward system being used throughout the country.

The Tánaiste added,“Cork is an ideal location because of the recent completion of the Cork University Maternity Hospital and the development of a research centre focused on women’s health and reproduction. In addition, the National Cancer Registry, the Central Statistics Office and the Health Information and Quality Authority are all located in Cork.”