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the Rotunda

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In honour of World Mental Health Day, The Rotunda will deal with the difficult subject of post natal depression in tonight’s emotional episode.

Tonight, we meet mum-to-be Ciara and her husband PJ who are preparing to welcome their second child into the world.

The couple are obviously excited about the pending arrival of their baby, but Ciara is worried she may have a relapse of the post natal depression she had after the birth of her first child.

It is thought as many as one in six mums experience post natal depression, although the figure could be higher. Mums tend to minimise or hide these feelings from family and friends as long as they can. Many have an unfounded fear that people will judge them or that social services will become involved. Many think they are alone in suffering with this, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.

Ciara’s story is one that resonates with many of us mums. Her courage and strength is beyond admirable. Sharing your struggles with the public isn’t easy, but it will help tackle the stigma.

Also on tonight’s episode of The Rotunda are young couple Sophie and Daryl, who don’t know the sex of their unborn child but their choice of names is proving confusing for midwife Veronica.

Mum-of-two Daniela is wondering if childbirth will be any easier this time around though it’s been 13 years since she had her last child.

Opera singer Ioana meanwhile is hoping the time spent at breastfeeding classes will be a help once her first baby is born.

The Rotunda continues tonight at 9.30pm on RTÉ2

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Doctors have stated that the lack of consultants in Irish hospitals is having a "serious effect" on Irish women's healthcare.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) have released figures showing 28,417 women are currently waiting to see a gynaecologist in Ireland.

5,394 women are waiting over 12 months, and there has been a 40 percent increase since 2014 in the number of women waiting to see a consultant gynaecologist nationally.

Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan has stated to the Irish Mirror that the problem could be seriously detrimental to Irish women's health.

"Unfilled specialist posts are making it difficult for women to be seen in a timely fashion," he said.

"Our waiting lists for outpatients are among the worst in the world… and that's having a really serious effect on women's health and well-being." 

3,469 women are waiting for the Rotunda Hospital to offer them an appointment with a gynaecologist. 3,148 women are waiting in Tallaght Hospital, and 2,099 are waiting for the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

Galway University Hospital has 1,898 women waiting, with 1,783 in Letterkenny General Hospital, 1,522 in Portlaoise Hospital and 1,468 in Limerick University Hospital.

The consultant recruitment and retention crisis is a big factor in rising numbers of Irish women now waiting, according to the IHCA.

One-in-five or over 500 of all permanent consultant posts nationally are now empty or only temporarily filled, leading to long periods of wait times to access essential healthcare services.

The IHCA claim that the Government's consistent support for a "failed policy" is resulting in "the unique and extremely damaging" salary cut which consultants appointed since 2012 have been served.

New consultants are being paid up to 51 percent less than their colleagues, despite having some of the same job responsibilities.

Pay parity needs to be restored for new consultants, rather than driving them abroad to countries like Australia who will pay them accordingly.

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