Mothers and their newborn babies are in danger in Northern Ireland because the number of births has pushed maternity services close to breaking point.
The comments have been made in light of proposals to close Lisburn’s Lagan Valley Hospital maternity ward, and one health professional said that Northern Ireland’s maternity care is so strained that mothers and their new-born babies are at risk.
Joy Poots, chairman of Royal Jubilee maternity liaison committee and head of the regional group of maternity liaison committees, said: “This is a critical situation, even leaving aside the fit-for-purpose argument – these maternity units are operating completely over capacity.”
She also added that if maternity care services were eradicated in an effort to cut costs, the knock-on effect would put strain on the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and Craigavon.
She said: “The hospitals cannot cope with any additional births. Any increased pressure as a result of the desire to cut costs will have severe health and safety implications for patients.
“If the proposed cuts to maternity units go ahead, it will only be a matter of time before the Northern Ireland maternity services as a whole goes into complete meltdown.”
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