Bradshaw seeks assurances over neonatal cot availability

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has expressed alarm after receiving notification no neonatal cots were available at any hospital on the island of Ireland at 2.45pm on December 14, with patients potentially needing to be transferred to Scotland.

Questioning the Health Minister in the Assembly today, the South Belfast MLA asked about the availability of the cots, and there seemed to be some confusion over the issue, with Robin Swann pledging to investigate the matter.

“This is naturally extremely concerning, as it means as of yesterday according to our information, women in need of neonatal cots will have to be transferred to Scotland, where due to the coronavirus restrictions, they will potentially be spending their first days with their child alone,” she said.

“This uncertainty will of course further exacerbate the mental strain on pregnant women at what should be a time of joy. I would urge the Minister to intervene urgently to ensure absolutely that neonatal cots are available again in Northern Ireland.

“In addition, I would also urge people to reflect on the pressure the Health Service is being asked to bear when it is already at capacity due to the number of people with COVID-19 being treated in hospitals. This number can only rise the more people make contact with each other.

“Again the message needs to go out to the public it is not necessary to do everything which is permitted, and the restrictions over the Christmas period should be adhered to in practice and in spirit for the sake of our Health Service, all those who work in it and all those who use it.”