AIMS Ireland is a consumer-led voluntary organisation that was formed in early 2007 by women, following their own experiences in the Irish maternity system. This year in 2021, we are celebrating 14 years supporting women in the Irish Maternity System. Our mission is to inform the public on models of care, birth practices and settings, which are supported by evidence-based research and international best practices, and to identify areas of excellence within the Irish Maternity System and to advocate for their extension. Our mission is also to speak on behalf of the service user experience in Ireland as to where evidence based practices are lacking, as to where care is unsafe and as to where new investment and services are needed. We also campaign for recognition of birthing autonomy and issues surrounding informed choice and informed refusal for people in all aspects of the maternity services. In addition we offer support to people who have been adversely affected by their experience of the Irish Maternity System via our support team and our support network.
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, “It is a fundamental human right for people to choose the circumstances in which they give birth, with whom and where, including a choice between hospital and home birth” and Article 8, European Court of Human Rights Click here.
Aims Ireland were invited to sit on the National Maternity Strategy Steering Group, the National Advisory Group for Better Safer Maternity Care and most recently were invited to orally address the Oireachtas Joint Health Committee on the implementation of the National Maternity Strategy. For the full written report click here.
We have representation on local hospital groups notably in the Saolta group in the West and also at the RCSI group in the North East.
We also sit on many local hospital committees, notably at the NMH, The Rotunda, OLOL, UCHG, Portuncula, Sligo General, Limerick General and the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.
We also sit on many national committees including the National Home birth Steering Group and the Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Steering Group. In 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022 we were also invited to address president Michael D Higgins and the First Lady at the Aras. In 2018 we were instrumental in setting up the first Maternity Service User Advisory Board in conjunction with the HSE. In 2020 we represent service user opinion on the National Maternity Care Experience Survey. and in 2022 we have represented service user opinion on the National Bereavement Experience Survey. In the last three years we have also been working with HSE Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and AMS to try to ensure that birthing people were able to have as much partner support as possible during the Covid 19 Pandemic and during the same time period we have also been working with the HSE on the new Postnatal Record for postnatal people.
Our committee regularly lecture at the many midwifery teaching universities including UCD, TCD and UCG and we are also frequent speakers at maternity conferences lectures and meetings around the country. In addition we are invited to participate in numerous studies and research projects in Ireland looking at the experience of the the maternity services.
AIMS Ireland offers independent, confidential, non-judgmental support and information on maternity choices and care to women and their families. We assist in complaints and run a private online Birth Healing support group for women following difficult and/or traumatic birth (please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details or to join), and a OASI support group for women who have experienced Obstetric Anal Sphincter Injury, again please email email@example.com for details or to join.
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.
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