Press release from AIMS Ireland March 16th 2016
For immediate release
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Aims Ireland welcomes the release of a maternity indicator system for Ireland. The System was created as a response to many expert reports on the safety failings of our maternity services. The data which cover all 19 maternity units gives an overall picture of c section rates, inductions of labour, instrumental deliveries and epidural use.
AIMSI Chair Krysia Lynch said “Publicly available data are vital for ensuring transparency and safety of mothers and babies.”
However, AIMSI notes with concern that the national c section rate is now cited as being 29.6% in 2014, a percentage point up from 28.7% in 2013.
Lynch continues “The c section rate for Ireland has continued to rise, and this is alarming. What is is particularly worrying however is the large variations between units in terms of c section rates. Some of the smaller units are averaging 33% and 35% with one unit having a rate of 37%. This type of variability is not acceptable given that all units have a similar perinatal mortality rate. High section rates for first time mothers mean that there will be higher section rates for second and third time mothers also. Some hospitals showed a first time mother c section rate of 43%.”
“Induction of labour when a woman is unfavourable to induction, or as a matter of routine is associated with high c section rates. The national induction rate is 29.3%, higher for first time mothers, with some units having a 70% first time mother induction rate. Ensuring a lower routine induction rate and recognising that the period of normal gestation is 37 to 42 weeks could help in significantly reducing routine inductions at 40 weeks or before.”
AIMSI hopes that with the adoption of the recommendations from the Maternity Strategy more women will be offered a choice of birth settings and the majority of women who are having a straight forward normal birth will have the option of birthing in an along side birth centre cared for by a midwife. Such settings are associated with lower intervention rates and higher satisfaction rates.
Lynch concluded “It would be helpful for this system to include more variables surrounding birth outcomes, for example VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean section), maternal morbidity, setting, lead carer, use of syntocinin for augmentation of established labour and breastfeeding rates. These metrics might have been highlighted earlier if the system included a service user representative.”.
The full report available here