Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD has welcomed the significant additional investment announced in Budget 2022 in support of Women’s Health.

The additional €31 million provides a foundation for a fully funded action programme on Women’s Health in 2022. The action plan will focus on improving the foundations for women’s health by investing in policy implementation; tackling the issues that women have said they want to see improved; and funding innovative new approaches to women’s health.

Budget 2022 will:

  • invest almost €9 million additional funding to ensure continued implementation of the National Maternity Strategy into 2022 and beyond, building on the significant investment in 2021
  • continue improvements in our gynaecology services by establishing a further 6 ambulatory gynaecology “see and treat” clinics, bringing the total to 20 clinics nationally
  • invest almost €9 million to fund access to contraception for women aged 17-25
  • invest an additional €5 million into the Women’s Health Fund to fund innovative new approaches to women’s health services nationwide
  • support further developments in menopause care by increasing the number of specialist menopause clinics from 1 clinic to 4 clinics nationally
  • increase investment in sexual assault treatment units
  • invest in tackling period poverty for the first time
  • build on initiatives started in 2021, by further expanding specialist endometriosis services for more complex cases across two centres

Minister Donnelly said:

“This investment demonstrates the government’s commitment to listen to women and respond with action. Through the work of the Women’s Health Taskforce, women have told us where they want to see change. This budget reflects this through a major increase in investment in women’s health, and targeted funding in key areas like menopause, maternity care and mental health.”

Significant improvements were made in women’s health services in 2021, including:

  • €7.31m provided for the implementation of the National Maternity Strategy with recruitment of a further 75.5 WTEs across our maternity Services in 2021, enabling delivery of enhanced midwifery care, increased access to specialist and allied health services, enhanced postnatal care and improved care to neonates
  • progressing the roll out of the Ambulatory Gynaecology Model of Care by funding the establishment and/or expansion of 9 ambulatory gynaecology clinics in hospitals across the country
  • funding for two community-based Ambulatory Gynaecology Services governed by two acute hospitals (Tallaght University Hospital, and University Maternity Hospital Limerick)
  • funding the establishment of the final two Regional Fertility Hubs in Limerick and Galway, bringing the total to six Hubs nationally
  • funding for the expansion of the endometriosis service at Tallaght University Hospital to deliver a specialist endometriosis centre for the management and treatment of all forms of endometriosis, with particular focus on advanced and complex cases for which there is no ready access in Ireland
  • additional funding for four additional Clinical Midwife Specialists to join an existing network of 21 senior midwifes with specialist expertise in the area of perinatal mental health across 19 maternity services
  • additional funding of €1.58 million to fund 24 additional lactation consultants thereby providing support to every maternity unit in the country
  • the development of the first dedicated specialist menopause clinic in the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street

Minister Donnelly said:

“The additional investment in major service areas that seek to support Women’s Health outcomes will ensure that Sláintecare continues to deliver for women, improving patient and user experience and achieving better outcomes.”