Lack of maternity services in Naas ‘a really big struggle’ for families

Some women spend hours travelling to Dublin for routine appointments.
James Wilson
James Wilson

13.37 24 Apr 2023

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Lack of maternity services in...

Lack of maternity services in Naas ‘a really big struggle’ for families

James Wilson
James Wilson

13.37 24 Apr 2023

Share this article

The lack of maternity care services in Naas is “a really big struggle” for families, a mother of four has said.

Maternity services stopped at Naas General Hospital during the pandemic and have not returned despite the end of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Every month, some 200 women travel to Dublin for antenatal appointments and for many it is a logistical nightmare. 


Naas General Hospital

Darina has just had her fourth child; she does not drive and had to rely on her grandfather to give her a lift to medical appointments. 

Planning the trips was especially complex because two of her children are autistic and one is non-verbal. 

“Not everybody can look after him,” she told Newstalk reporter Josh Crosbie for The Pat Kenny Show

“So, it was a really big struggle for us to get up to the appointments, as I’d have to bring all of them with me and it was a really big struggle for us.” 

Sometimes Darina has had to miss appointments because she could not arrange childcare and even if she did manage to make it to Dublin, there were times her appointment was cancelled. 

“Even when I was going to the Coombe, I was getting some of my appointments changed, which was really stressful for me as well because then I had to try and figure out how to get that childminder for another day and stuff like that,” she said. 

“But to go from here into Naas, it’s only 20 minutes away from here.” 

'Perfect for everybody'

Darina feels the return of the Naas clinic would be “perfect for everybody” and she is not the only woman in the county to think so. 

Majella gave birth to her sixth child seven months ago and found the trips to Dublin highly inconvenient. 

“I’d have to leave the house at 1pm,” she said. 

“It would take about 50 minutes to an hour to travel from my house to the Coombe. 

“Then you could be waiting another hour and a half maybe to see a doctor. 

“So, by the time you’re finished, it’s definitely getting on to about 5pm; so, you’re into rush hour traffic on the way home.” 

DM6EWW Pregnant Woman Having 4D Ultrasound Scan

Majella would usually return home at 6.30pm but with little time to rest and relax. 

“Then you’re coming home and if anything has to be done at home - schoolwork, housework - everything has to be done later on or you have to get it done before you leave,” she said. 

“So, it’s a lot of added stress on top of a pregnancy.”

Maternity services

For her third and fourth pregnancies, she only went to the Coombe for delivery and she feels strongly it would be better for women if maternity services resumed locally. 

“It’s been there for years; it works, it’s tried and tested,” she said. 

“So, I don’t understand why you can’t put somewhere in closer proximity to people where they don’t have to travel hours on end - and it would take petrol off the bill.” 

In a statement to Newstalk, the hospital said: 

"In April 2020, the Coombe Hospital transferred its antenatal clinics from Naas General Hospital (NGH) to the Coombe Hospital, in the context of risk mitigation measures undertaken by NGH in response to its spatial challenges arising from the ongoing pandemic.

"Subsequent to this, temporary accommodation was found for a midwifery-led clinics in Newbridge; and lately in Celbridge, these clinics are fully supported by a consultant clinic at the Coombe Hospital.

"The Coombe Hospital and the HSE are continuing to assess appropriate accommodation options for outreach consultant services in this catchment area."

Listen back here:

Main image: A woman holding her pregnant belly. Picture by: Tetra Images, LLC / Alamy Stock Photo

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