Press Release

Varadkar announces Maternity Strategy Steering Group

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar has today announced the establishment of a Steering Group to advise on the development of a National Maternity Strategy.

“In Ireland we have very good maternity care which is reflected in the fact that perinatal and maternal mortality rates are on a par with our international peers. Nonetheless, a number of high profile cases in recent years have given rise to public concern about the safety and quality of maternity services,” Minister Varadkar said. “For these reasons, I am appointing a Steering Group to prepare a new National Maternity Strategy for Ireland. In doing so, I am implementing one of the recommendations of the HIQA Report into the care of Ms Savita Halappanavar.

“The new National Maternity Strategy will put the needs of mothers, babies and their families at its centre. The focus will be on maximising patient safety, quality of care, clinical outcomes as well as the desirability of greater patient choice,the move towards more services in the community, and a renewed focus on prevention and wellbeing. I have asked the Group to report to me by the end of the year.”

The Steering Group will be chaired by Sylda Langford, former Director General of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and currently a member of the Board of the Child and Family Agency.  Ms Langford has extensive experience in policy and legislative work across a number of government areas, and a professional background in social policy and social work. The Group includes service user representatives as well as representatives of a wide range of specialties relating to maternity services.

Announcing the membership, the Minister said: “The Steering Group will play a key role in shaping the future of maternity care in Ireland.  Collectively they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and I am very grateful to each of them for agreeing to undertake this important work.”

The Group will hold its first meeting in early May and is expected to conclude its work by the end of the year.  The publication of the Maternity Strategy is one of the Minister’s key priorities for 2015.


Note to Editor

The Membership of the Group is as follows:

Chair: ​​Ms Sylda Langford, former Director General of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

Other members :

Professor Cecily Begley, Chair of Nursing & Midwifery TCD
Ms Mary Brosnan, Director of Midwifery, National Maternity Hospital
Ms Teresa Cody, Principal Officer, Primary Care, Deptof Health
Professor Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospital Group
Ms Sinead Curran, Dietitian, National Maternity Hospital
Dr Miriam Daly, Director Women’s Health Programme, ICGP
Professor Declan Devane, Professor of Midwifery, NUI Galway
Ms Mary Gorman, Clinical Nurse Manager II, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda
Dr Colm Henry, HSE National Clinical Advisor & Group Lead for Acute Hospitals
Ms Dawn Johnston, Group Director of Midwifery, Saolta Hospital Group
Ms Susan Kent, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Dept of Health
Ms Shauna Keyes, Service User Representative
Ms Krysia Lynch, Chair, AIMS Ireland
Dr Kathleen MacLellan, Director of Clinical Effectiveness, Dept of Health
Ms Roisin Molloy, Service User Representative
Dr John Murphy, HSE National Clinical Lead for Neonatology
Dr Meabh Ní Bhuinneain, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Mayo General
Mr Pat O Dowd, HSE Assistant National Director, Primary Care
Ms Joan Regan, Principal Officer, Acute Hospitals Policy, Dept of Health
Ms Mary Reilly, Clinical Midwife Manager II, Cavan General Hospital
Ms Grace Rothwell, Hospital Manager, South Tipperary General Hospital
Professor Jane Sandall, Chair in Social Science and Women’s Health, King’s College London
Ms Monica Sheehan, Director of Public Health Nursing, Kerry Community Care Services
Dr Sharon Sheehan, Master, Coombe Hospital
Dr Dubhfeasa Slattery, Head of Clinical Risk, State Claims Agency
Ms Sheila Sugrue, HSE National Lead for Midwifery
Ms Pauline Treanor, Secretary & General Manager,Rotunda Hospital
Professor Michael Turner, Clinical Lead for Obstetrics and Gynaecology