The Government of Ireland has opened the new Ambulatory Gynaecology Clinic and Suimhneas home-from-home birthing suite at Sligo University Hospital.

The facilities were inaugurated by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly. 

Built at a cost exceeding €1.1m ($1.19m), the Ambulatory Gynaecology clinic has a modern ‘see and treat’ model of care and is capable of handling around 70% of general gynaecology referrals in the ambulatory setting.  

The Suimhneas birthing suite, which received an investment of over €100,000, offers a home-like environment for childbirth. 

This method of treatment, called ‘Supported Care Pathway’, aims to specifically cater to women at low risk with midwife-led care.  

The Supported Care Pathway is one of three pathways of care established under Ireland’s National Maternity Strategy, which received €16m in development funding from the government in 2021 and 2022. 

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The other two pathways include Assisted and Specialised care pathways.  

Both facilities are expected to be instrumental in improving access, reducing the need for multiple appointments and ensuring future service sustainability.  

The government noted that the positive effects of opening the new facilities are already evident, with outpatient waiting list figures at Sligo University Hospital showing a reduction across all categories. 

The launch of these facilities marks a significant enhancement to the gynaecology and maternity services in the country’s Sligo and the Northwest regions.  

It is also part of the government’s broader initiative, which has been underway since 2020, to advance women’s health services.  

Donnelly said: “Progressing Women’s Health is a priority within the Programme for Government, and a top priority for me as Minister for Health.  

“I am proud to have overseen unprecedented levels of funding in women’s health services. I know that this new clinic is a positive, on-the-ground improvement that will make a real difference to the women of Sligo and the Northwest.” 

Donnelly also commended the Sligo team and the National Women and Infants Health Programme for delivering these health services.  

Last month, Sligo University Hospital’s maternity department initiated a pilot community midwifery service aimed at improving postnatal care in Ireland.