Dáil committee to discuss regional availability of anomaly scans

The 20 week scan is currently not routinely available to all pregnant women in Ireland

Dáil committee to discuss regional availability of anomaly scans

File photo. Picture by Katie Collins PA Wire/PA Images

A Dáil committee will on Thursday address the availability of 20 week screening and diagnostic scans for pregnant women.

The fetal anomaly scans are made available to women as a routine test in some Irish maternity units, including University Hospital Waterford and several Dublin hospitals.

However, as Newstalk reported earlier this month, in other parts of the country it is only offered to patients 'who have particular risk factors'.

The scans are more detailed than scans carried out earlier in pregnancy, and can help identify conditions such as spina bifida or congenital heart disease.

The Joint Committee on Health is meeting tomorrow to continue their deliberations over the National Maternity Strategy 2016 - 2026.

Members will hear from representatives of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (IOG) and the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS Ireland).

Committee Chairman, Dr Michael Harty TD, explained: “In continuing our examination of the National Maternity Strategy, there are a number of areas that Committee Members will look to discuss with the IOG and AIMS - such as the choice of maternity care available, the geographic spread of services across the country and the supports available in terms of perinatal mental health.

"In particular, however, we will also address issues surrounding the 20 week screening and diagnostic scan for pregnant women and its regional availability and importance," he added.