AIMS Ireland welcomes the publication of the Implementation Plan for the National Maternity Strategy, which was formally launched in Dublin today. This plan is vital to create a maternity service which offers choice, safety and equity of access to women in Ireland.
AIMS particularly welcomes today’s launch, having initially been informed that the plan would be ready within 6 months of publication of the strategy, some two years ago. “While we welcome the development however, we note that only 238 recommendations outlined in the Maternity Strategy have made it across the line to implementation” said Chair of AIMS, Krysia Lynch, who sat on the Strategy Steering Committee.
AIMS Ireland welcomes today’s sentiments that the service user voice will form a crucial part of the implementation. However we have misgivings about the proposed “Service User Council”. This type of instrument will isolate service users from the decision making process involving other stakeholders. It will limit synergy and the exchange of information opinions and experiences. Service users will effectively become a satellite talking shop. This type of arrangement will not enable women to be at the centre of service design.
“Collaborating with service users is vital” said the AIMSI Chair, “At a recent meeting with the Office of Women’s and Infants Health Programme in the HSE, AIMS highlighted the importance of listening to service users and validating their experiences with a view to using that information to inform change and learning. We await more information on how that council will be made up and how much influence it will have on future decision making within the maternity services.”
“The NMS was created as a response to negative outcomes and negative reporting in the Irish Maternity Services. What is important now its to focus on the positive whilst taking crucial less from past tragedies, and build from there. In order to do so the input from women using the maternity services is vital. We need service users to tell us what is working – what it meeting expectations and functioning well. We need to hear that not just from clinicians, but from service users. Service users need to be integrally involved in the design and implementation of any maternity service. The key phrase is “co production”, without it the service will never fulfill expectations." said Krysia Lynch
The plan can be read and download here