A woman is dead and there is no inquiry: Maternity service users demand clarity, accountability and reassurance.

A woman is dead and there is no inquiry: Maternity service users demand clarity, accountability and reassurance.

AIMS Ireland today (Friday, 7th September 2018)  expresses grave concern at the blocking of HIQA investigation into the treatment and subsequent death of Malak Thawley at the National Maternity Hospital.  The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services asks how can women, girls and pregnant people have confidence in a maternity service that is beyond accountability?

In yesterday’s ruling, Mr Justice Charles Meenan stated that as it was accepted that the “serious risks” to maternity users safety, as identified in this case,  also exists in hospitals across the health service. The High Court said that because of this it was “irrational and unreasonable” for the Minister to direct a Section 9 investigation on the National Maternity Hospital.

Speaking on the publication of the High Court ruling, AIMSI Chair Krysia Lynch asked “What is the public to think about safety and risks in our maternity services based on this decision? We now know that the “serious risk” identified by Minister Harris exists in hospitals across the health service. This hardly inspires confidence. It also gives the maternity service an air of untouchability and no need to be accountable to the public it serves. All in all it’s shocking and very disappointing.”

As one of the stakeholders in the National Maternity Strategy, AIMS asks where we now go from here given that we are supposed to be promoting a climate of transparency disclosure trust and partnership.

“Maternity service users will now not only be questioning why the National Maternity Hospital sought to block the inquiry in the first place, but also what “serious risk” they might encounter at any of the 19 maternity units implicated in this judgement.” added Ms Lynch.   “It is simply not acceptable for service users to be forced to use a service in which they do not have confidence.” the AIMSI Chair said.

AIMS Ireland calls on the Minister to reassure service users that the “serious risk” has been addressed and that any learning from this tragedy which brought about the death of a young woman has been transferred across the country’s 19 maternity units.  AIMS also calls on the Mr Harris to assure service users that no maternity unit is “untouchable” or beyond accountability. Only then can women, girls and other pregnant people have confidence in their maternity service.

For further information please contact AIMS PRO Emily McElarney on 0863856225 or AIMS Chair Krysia Lynch on 0877543751

About AIMSI:

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 2018, we are celebrating 11 years supporting women, girls and other pregnant people 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 maternal autonomy and issues surrounding informed choice and informed refusal for women, girls and other pregnant people in all aspects of the maternity services.

Emily McElarney
PRO AIMS Ireland

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