Press release from the Association of Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS Ireland)
For release on 14th April 2015
AIMS Ireland consumer survey shows core issues for Portlaoise and Portuncula are widespread
Contact Krysia Lynch on 0877543751
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The largest ever consumer survey of maternity service users in Ireland (nearly 3,000 respondents) reveals that lack of information during and after labour are key areas of dissatisfaction for Irish maternity service users.
Women were most dissatisfied with (i) the information they received from their care provider during labour (1 in 7 women rated this as ”poor / very poor”), (ii) the information they received from their care provider in the postpartum period (1 in 6 women rated this as “poor / very poor”), and (iii) with the care they received during the postpartum period (1 in 7 women rated this as “poor / very poor”). These three categories received the highest numbers of combined “poor” and “very poor” ratings. The maternal 6-week check received the highest “very poor” rating (1 in 15 women).
In general, the survey showed that ratings associated with information women received were noticeably lower than ratings associated with the care itself.
AIMSI Chair Krysia Lynch commented “It is worth noting that the time frame to which this survey refers is the same time frame in which the issues associated with the recent spate of maternal deaths of non-Irish women occurred and also the same time frame as the perinatal deaths and other serious incidents at Portlaoise and Portuncula happened. All of these highly reported episodes have lack of communication between patients and care providers in the maternity services at their core. Lack of information feeds directly into the area of informed consent – and clearly communication and informed consent are the key challenges for the maternity services in Ireland today. We can not continue to view the avoidable tragedies in Portlaoise and Portuncula as isolated incidents: the picture is systemic – and information is key in the radical improvements needed for all users to feel safe and listened to throughout their maternity care.”
The survey also revealed that three quarters of respondents were not given a patient satisfaction form to fill out after they had their baby. This is a basic requirement in monitoring patient experience. Of those that did receive one, the majority filled it in whilst they were still receiving care from their HCPs, which is not best practice.
Lynch continued “If women are not given an opportunity to rate their care; good bad or indifferent, how can maternity care providers assess women’s experiences? At present if women want to voice their opinion they must take very proactive steps usually by making a formal complaint. Most new mothers are either reluctant to do this or not in a position to do this; and so a disconnect develops between the perception on behalf of the care provider and the reality experienced by the women. The new strategic review of the maternity services should consider the need for more formal auditing on satisfaction and patient experiences in the Irish maternity system.”
More information on AIMSI surveys at www.aimsireland.ie
Background to WMTY 2014
During 2014 AIMS Ireland carried out the largest consumer survey of the maternity services in Ireland; “What Matters to YOU 2014?”. It was available through the AIMSI website (www.aimsireland.ie), AIMS Ireland social media, parenting pages, and was also shared widely through social media channels (twitter and facebook groups), and Irish Health.com.
The survey was self-selecting and open to anyone who wished to fill it in who had given birth in Ireland between 2010-214. Respondents who completed the survey were anonymous. It was voluntarily completed by 2, 836 women. The 100 question survey examined women’s experiences from their perspectives on a variety of issues relating to care options in Irish maternity services, antenatal care, labour and birth, and postnatal care.The survey was primarily filled out by mothers not birthing for the first time (75%). The survey was representative of all maternity units in Ireland, and the busiest 8 units (NMH Rotunda Coombe, CUMH, Limerick, OLOL, UCH Galway) were represented in proportion to the number of births there. The only non representative aspect to the survey was that 4% of respondents had planned a homebirth, whereas only about 1% of the population are able to avail of this model of care.
An independent analysis was compiled by statistical analyst Laura Conlon, who is otherwise not involved with AIMS Ireland or maternity/birth related activism or business.
Background to WMTY 2010
In July 2009, AIMSI launched an electronic survey asking women for feedback on their experience of care as users of maternity services. The survey closed on December 31st 2009 and a total of 367 respondents completed the survey all of whom were self-selecting and anonymous. The survey was accessed via the AIMS Ireland website (www.aimsireland.ie) and also through a number of parenting website forums. In general women were happy with their care, however the area of most concern for women was postnatal care. As with the survey in 2007, women became less satisfied with their care as they moved from antenatal care to birth to postnatal care.
Background to WMTY 2007
In March 2007, AIMS Ireland conducted its first survey evaluating women’s experiences of maternity services in Ireland. The aim of the survey was to help us gain a better understanding of what is most important to women with regard to their care during and after pregnancy and understand the improvements most women would like to see. This particular survey was aimed at women who had a baby in Ireland in the previous 5 years.
The main finding of the survey was that during pregnancy, the majority of women were happy with the levels of care and information they received with 44.8% indicating ‘Excellent’ care and 39.3% indicating ‘Good’ care. However, the women became increasingly unhappy as they moved to labour, birth and postnatal care. The most negative feedback we received was in relation to postnatal care, support and information.