Friday, 11 October 2013

Media and Politicians please make informed decisons. Review of Maternity Services is an opportunity for change & reform - not more of the same.

PLEASE READ AND SHARE to media and politicians: 
AIMS Ireland published a press release following the HIQA report yesterday. We note it was printed in several media outlets, thank you! However, we are dismayed to see that in ALL instances, bar the blog of Clare Daly, the need for reform of Ireland's maternity care model has been left out. We have heard numerous reports from obstetricians and politicians in the past 24 hrs using this report to call for more obstetricians. This presents a big problem - its a reactionary plaster which in the long run, WILL fail. More obstetricians will not save mothers or babies. It will cost more. This is an opportunity for CHANGE. The maternity services need REFORM away from an obstetric care model.

Here's why:

The obstetric led care model is NOT evidence based. It is shown time and time again to cost MORE and to be LESS SAFE for the majority of mothers and babies.

Pregnancy is not an illness. The majority of pregnancies and births are healthy and low risk - these women do NOT need surgical health care providers who specialise in high risk pregnancy/birth looking after them (obstetric care model). In fact, research shows that when healthy women in healthy pregnancies and birth are attended by an obstetrician, risk INCREASES. This leads to a DOMINO effect - increasing demands on our services and introduces risks to women and babies.


1)Adverse affects from interventions and surgical births mean that MORE women will require medical aftercare for physical and mental health reasons.

2) More interventions and surgical births means that MORE women will NEED specialized care in future pregnancies = requiring more specialists on specialist wages, more surgeries, more postnatal beds as women stay for longer durations, and more NICU funding.

 3) Increase in surgical births significantly increases risks for WOMEN in current birth AND for future pregnancies. Surgical birth makes women more likely to suffer a severe maternal morbidity and require admission for high dependency units. Many interventions and surgical birth leads to an increase in NICU admission for babies.

Obstetricians are surgeons and experts in high risk complications. Having a maternity system that requires ALL women to see a specialist surgeon/obstetricians takes specialist surgeons/obstetricians AWAY from the very women who genuinely need this specialized expert care.

Midwives are the experts of healthy pregnancy and birth. Not obstetricians. Obstetricians are highly skilled and play and important role in maternity services - but they are NOT QUALIFIED to provide care or create policy for the majority of healthy women enjoying healthy pregnancies and births.

 Midwife led care models have been shown time and time again to be of MORE benefit to women, have less adverse affects, and are more cost efficient. Midwife led care is the RECOMMENDED care model for the large majority of women - backed by HIGH QUALITY and robust research.

The medical (obstetric) care model is not working. We have hired the wrong person for the job and it is having a negative affect on the physical and psychological health of women and babies.

We need REFORM - not more of the same.

The media and politicians hold incredible power - they control what information is presented to the public and create policies that directly affect the care women receive in maternity care. Please be INFORMED. Make INFORMED DECISONS.


Midwives, not medicine, promote healthier pregnancies and births in Sweden:

Midwife led care delivers best outcomes, Cochrane review finds:

Midwife-led versus other models of care for childbearing
women (Review):

An evaluation of midwifery-led care -The Report of the MID-U Study (HSE):

Who should provide routine antenatal care for low-risk women, and how often? A systematic review of randomised controlled trials:

Thursday, 10 October 2013

AIMS Ireland welcomes HIQA Savita report and recommendations: Condemning Irish Maternity Services as being 'outdated', 'patently unsafe', and a 'geographic lottery.'

AIMS Ireland welcomes HIQA Savita report and recommendations: Condemning Irish maternity services as being 'outdated', 'patently unsafe', and a 'geographic lottery'. 
(Wednesday 9 October 2013) The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS Ireland) today welcomed the HIQA report into the safety, quality and standards of care of Savita Halappanavar and called for the HSE to immediately conduct a full review of maternity services as recommended in the report.
 Commenting on the report, Krysia Lynch, Co-chair of AIMS Ireland said:  "The findings of the HIQA report indicate a failure at all strata of responsibility to provide basic levels of adequate and appropriate care to Savita Halappanavar which would have saved her life. What is also of grave concern to AIMS Ireland is the number of failures at national level identified in the report including timely access to maternity services, inadequate staffing levels for safe care, a maternity care model that hasn't been revised in 59 years despite numerous national and international reports and recommendations, a lack of accountability and governance, an absence of reviews of clinical practices in units and the lack of a national maternity services strategy, all of which we have seen recommended on previous inquests without reform. "
The 2007 Safer Childbirth Document recommends that midwife to woman staffing levels are never to exceed 1:28 for low risk women and 1:25 for high risk women, in order to ensure that women are safely looked after and not left alone in labour.  Irish ratios drastically exceed these recommendations and were seen to be contributing factors into the deaths of Tania McCabe, Bimbo Onanuga, and now, Savita Halappanavar.   Recent research in Ireland has shown that there is are marked regional variations in obstetrical intervention for hospital birth, therefore, it is difficult to determine how and where interventions are more or less frequently adhered to within maternity services. Regional variations in obstetric interventions across Ireland essentially present women with a ‘geographic lottery’ in terms of their maternity care. There is no standardized care.
Krysia Lynch "The HSE and Department of Health have seen numerous recommendations and reports of unsafe practice in Irish maternity services in the recent decade, all of which have fallen on deaf ears. Ireland purports to be one of the safest Countries to have a baby... yet these incidents of gross neglect continue. The current midwife to woman ratio is patently unsafe. Maternity units have reported midwife to woman ratios of 1:43, failing not only international recommendations but those resulting from previous investigations following the deaths of Tania McCabe and Bimbo Onanuga." Lynch continues, "Ireland is a nation of numerous reports and recommendations. Report , after report, after report come to the same conclusions with  absolutely no preventative action from the HSE or Department of Health." 

AIMS Ireland strongly refutes the calls today to increase the number of obstetricians in the Irish maternity services as a reactionary measure to this report. AIMS Ireland states, "We need an over-haul of the maternity care model in Ireland. Our maternity services are 90% obstetric-led and lack continuity of carer. Outdated practices are of no benefit to the majority of women. High quality robust evidence, including the recently published Cochrane Review on midwife-led care, shows that the large majority of women benefit from a Midwifery-Led care model, not obstetric. Obstetric-led care has a very important place in Irish maternity services and should be available for women who want or need this type of maternity care, however, in failing to provide evidence based care options, valuable resources are being over-utilized as women have no option but birth in under-staffed and over-crowded consultant led units."
AIMS Ireland stresses, "Today we  have heard repeated calls for yet more of the same - an increase in obstetricians. Where are the midwife led units and birth centres? Ireland needs to wake up and listen to the evidence. This is an opportunity to review our maternity care model and provide women with evidence based midwife led care models in every Irish unit."
For further information:
Krysia Lynch
087 754 3751   
About AIMS Ireland
AIMS Ireland is a consumer-led voluntary organisation dedicated to improvement in maternity services in Ireland. Our mission is to highlight normal birth practices, which are supported by evidence-based research and international best practices, and campaign for recognition of maternal autonomy and issues surrounding informed choice and informed refusal for women in all aspects of the maternity services and maternal health.  
AIMS Ireland campaigns on the grounds that birth choice is a basic human right as declared at the International Conference of Human Rights and Childbirth.
AIMS Ireland offer independent, confidential, non-judgemental support and information on maternity choices and care to women and their families. We assist in complaints and run a closed online Birth Healing support group for women following difficult and/or traumatic birth.
Our day-to-day contact with service users, consumer interest groups and healthcare practitioners helps us stay informed of key issues in maternity care and services which we can directly feedback to service providers, media, HSE and Government in an effort to improve maternity services on a local and national level.
AIMS Ireland is run solely by volunteers and funded through donations and fundraising. Volunteers cover their own costs (travel to meetings, parking, childminding, phone costs). All money donated to AIMS Ireland goes directly back to women and support.
For more information please visit our website, 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

ÁGNES GERÉB 3RD ANNIVERSARY IN CONFINEMENT: Statement from Campaign for Justice for Dr. Ágnes Geréb.

Three years is a long time. Three years in confinement is a very long time. Three years in confinement when you have done nothing wrong is a very, very long time. Through prison and house arrest, she has retained her strength, her dignity, her reputation and she has remained true to herself and her beliefs. And so many in Hungary and around the world have remained true to her. Women everywhere see her as someone who has responded to the wishes of birthing mothers. In doing so she has had to face mistreatment and injustice. But the birthing mothers in Hungary who want midwifery-led-care, whether in hospital or at home, are still there and their wishes will not go away. 

On this third anniversary of her arrest on 5 October 2010, we recognise some signs of improvement. She is now allowed out of her home for one hour each day. Recently, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention spent 3 hours at her home, listening to her story. In their preliminary report, issued on 2nd October, they condemn the 'excessive use of preliminary detention' in Hungary, and point to the excessive zeal of prosecutors, and the weakness of judges in standing up to them - all features, we believe, of the gross abuse to which she has been subjected. And they recognise that house arrest, too, is a deprivation of liberty. The Government appears to be grudgingly aware of the capacity of the judicial system to inflict injustice. They have faced a constant stream of support for Ágnes, for birthing mothers and for midwives from the day she was imprisoned. And they know this support is not going away. We have secured great attention and backing from so many influential and esteemed persons and organisations worldwide who fully believe in the right of birthing mothers to choose the type of birth experience that suits them best and who see that Ágnes has been shamefully mistreated in her own efforts to respond to those wishes.

In the months ahead Ágnes will continue to defend her actions and her reputation in the courts. Birth right supporters here remain determined and, amongst many other actions, will soon bring cases to the EU and to the UN on these matters. We believe in the end, regardless of the time it takes, that birthing rights will be secured for future Hungarian mothers and that personal and professional rights will be secured for all the midwives like Ágnes who serve the needs of birth mothers.

Donal Kerry
International Spokesperson
Campaign for Justice for Dr. Ágnes Geréb.
mobile:  0036309242190