Sligo University Hospital’s (SUH) maternity department has initiated a pilot community midwifery service aimed at improving postnatal care in Ireland.  

This new outreach service is designed to provide integrated care for women and babies as close to their homes as possible.  

Under this service, women will be offered postnatal clinic appointments on day eight and day 20 following childbirth. 

The community midwifery service is an addition to the existing support provided by general practitioners (GPs) and Public Health Nursing.  

All the women in the region will have the convenience of attending clinics at primary care centres in Ballyshannon, Carrick on Shannon, Sligo town, and Ballymote, based on their proximity. 

Upon discharge from the maternity ward, women will receive an appointment for a postnatal hub closest to their residence.  

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According to SUH, each appointment will feature a comprehensive mother and baby check conducted by a midwife, with referrals and follow-up care arranged as needed.  

To further support new mothers, a midwife will be available for telephone postnatal support during the weekdays at designated times.  

SUH Clinical Midwife Manager 2 Karlene Kearns said: “The service was created in response to feedback from a patient engagement survey, which revealed that postnatal midwifery care needed to be improved.  

“We are very pleased to be selected as a pilot site by the HSE’s National Women and Infants Health Programme and secured funding for additional resources to support to roll out this pilot.” 

SUH Midwifery director Juliana Henry added: “As an outreach clinical service from the hospital, this service is a fundamental part of the National Maternity Strategy’s Model of Care to develop a community midwifery service.” 

SUH, which is part of Saolta University Health Care Group, offers a range of healthcare services to residents of Sligo, Leitrim, South Donegal, and West Cavan regions. 

Various services provided at SUH include outpatient, acute inpatient, and day services, along with regional specialty services in ophthalmology and ear, nose, and throat. 

Last year in March, Sligo University Hospital launched a 290m² extension to its intensive care unit, with four ensuite isolation rooms.