Latest Press Releases

Press release from the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS Ireland)

For immediate release 4th May 2015

Women in Ireland call for the midwife.

Contact Krysia Lynch 0877543751

On May 5th to celebrate the International Day of the Midwife AIMS Ireland will release the results of its survey associated with choices and care givers in childbirth. The survey filled in by nearly 3,000 women in 2014 shows that the desire for midwifery led care amongst maternity care service users in Ireland is much higher than the current provision of such care.

Current availability of midwifery led care
Only 5.5% of respondents stated that midwifery led care was currently available to them.

Desire for midwifery led care
Of those that did not have midwifery care available, 24.8% said they would like to have a midwifery led service (on the lines of MLU/ DOMINO) available to them
Of those that did not currently have midwifery led care available, 55.5% said they would choose midwifery led service (on lines of MLU/ DOMINO) if it was available to them

Desire for homebirth services
Of those that did not currently have a homebirth service available to them, 19.7% said they would like to have homebirth service available to them.

Desire for birth centres
91.7% of respondents said that women in general should have the choice of a free standing birth centre
58.5% of respondents said that they would personally choose a free standing birth centre if it were available

Desire for community based midwifery led care
90.3% of respondents said that women in general should have the choice of community based midwifery led care
42.6% of respondents said they would personally choose community based midwifery led care if it were available to them

Chair of Aims Ireland Krysia Lynch commented “Women are starting to realise that they have very few choices in Ireland surrounding their care givers. They are also realising that all the international best practice, evidence and research points to midwifery led care in low tech units as being the safest option for the vast majority of women and their babies.”

Lynch continued “The Minister of Health has just announced the new  Steering Group to advise on the development of a National Maternity Strategy, it is our hope that this new committee will look to the evidence rather than to the status quo to ensure that women in Ireland have access to a wide range of choices in childbirth and that true midwifery led care in low tech units be placed high on the agenda.”

At present, midwifery led care is limited to two midwifery led units in OLOL and Cavan, and also to DOMINO care within CUMH, The Coombe and the NMH. There are no Birth Centres in Ireland and only one unit, The Coombe, currently offers waterbirths.The maternity care policy until now has been to favour large units and obstetric led care for both low and high risk women.

Midwifery led care is defined as care where the midwife rather than a doctor is the lead professional

DOMINO (DOmiciliary IN Out) where women receive care from a team of midwives and will either birth at home or in a home from home room in a hospital and be discharged within 6-24 hours after birth

MLU (Midwifery Led Unit)

Community based midwifery led care where women receive their care and within the community; either within their own homes (eg postnatal care after being discharged from the hospital after 6 – 24 hours), or within a clinic in their own community where the midwife is the lead professional making decisions about care.


Press release from the Association for 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 087 7543751
Or email

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

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 (, AIMS Ireland social media, parenting pages, and was also shared widely through social media channels (twitter and facebook groups), and Irish
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 ( 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.




MARCH 24TH 2015

For immediate release 24th March 2015

Press statement from The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (AIMSI)

Contact Krysia Lynch 087 7543751


Contact Krysia Lynch 087 7543751

AIMSI are extremely concerned at the news that the HSE have threatened HIQA with an injunction preventing the publication of its independent report into the deaths of five babies and the substandard care provided to 83 women in Portlaoise Hospital. Service users are not human footballs to be kicked around between the HSE and HIQA.

As a consumer representative body, AIMSI are alarmed that women, families and the public at large will not be able to have access the findings of an independent report into repeated failures at the Midlands Regional Hospital until the report meets the approval of the HSE. This begs the question as to what level of control the HSE has over a regulatory, supposedly independent body.

Krysia Lynch, AIMSI Chair says “The key issue here is one of accountability. Who exactly is the HSE answerable to? Families and the public at large need to be reassured that maternity services in this country are accountable, and will respond to concerns raised by the public or to adverse outcomes. In the recent case of Portlaoise, questions have been raised in the media, in the Dail, with the Minister, with the Department of Health and with the HSE itself. The primary goal of all these questions was to secure an independent inquiry by HIQA. Now this inquiry has come to fruition, are we to understand that because the HSE don’t like it, it won’t be published? This raises huge issues for public safety and confidence, not just in the maternity services, but in the HSE and HIQA. AIMSI calls on the Minister of Health to intervene in this dispute and ensure that the report is published as swiftly as possible. It is incredible that the Minister for Health appears powerless to represent these families and the public at large.”

Lynch continues “AIMSI carried out the largest consumer based survey of the Maternity Services in Ireland last year with nearly 3,000 respondents. A key issue for respondents was that they were not listened to; only 49% of respondents said they were able to make an informed refusal for treatment, only 56% of respondents said that their informed consent was sought for procedures, and only 75% of respondents said that they felt welcomed and supported by healthcare professionals. Service users need to be listened to. If they feel they haven’t been listened to, then those representing their interests, and investigating the issues need to be listened to.”

Ciara Considine, spokesperson for the Philomena Canning Campaign, added: ‘We share the concern of AIMSI. As a campaign dedicated to highlighting the miscarriage of justice for independent midwife Philomena Canning, who was victim to a baseless, unlawful suspension as highlighted when she was reinstated after a court case against HSE, and her 29 clients, for whom patient safety was sacrificed by the HSE in contravention of its protocols, we see this in a larger picture of institutional hypocrisy and lack of accountability. Ms Canning was denied due process by the HSE despite no findings against her; the HSE now spuriously invoke ‘due process’ when a regulatory body presents its clear findings, to the extent of ‘reckless endangerment’ of patients. It defies belief and Minister Varadkar must hold the HSE answerable on all counts.’



For more information on AIMSI

For more information on What Matters To You Survey 2014

For more information on the Philomena Canning Campagin




MARCH 12TH 2015

For immediate release 12th March 2015

Press statement from The Association of Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (AIMSI)
Contact Krysia Lynch 087 7543751
In 2014, AMSi undertook the largest consumer based survey of the Maternity Services in Ireland and the initial set of  results on care pathways are being released this Saturday. The Survey; What Matters To You was completed by 2835 women who had used the Irish Maternity Services in the last four years. Respondents used all maternity units, as well as domiciliary care, and the majority of women (75%) were not first time mothers. The survey uncovered a broad range of issues in relation to maternity services and women’s experiences of them. A key finding was that over 90% of respondents stated that women should have the choice of freestanding birth centres. Currently there are NO free standing birth centres in Ireland and very little in terms of midwifery led care per se.
Krysia Lynch, AIMSI Co Chair says “One of the critical decisions in engaging with the maternity services for a woman is the choice of care provider. Recent maternity events in Ireland have highlighted that Ireland is unusual in comparison to other OECD countries in that women are given very limited choices in terms of care pathways and care providers. Our maternity services are overwhelmingly medicalised and obstetric led, when all the available evidence points to midwifery led care being the most suitable option for the majority of women. In midwifery led birth options women are subject to the fewest unnecessary routine interventions and therefore have the lowest risk of morbidity whilst still having excellent perinatal outcomes.”
Lynch continued “The current Irish system does not provide the appropriate range of care options; as a result all care suffers.  Implementing options of homebirth, hospital based midwife led care, and birth centres,  in addition to hospital based obstetric care, not only ensures evidence based care is available to women, but takes pressure off over-crowded obstetric led units for women who need this type of specialised care. Choice benefits all.”
Not only are we lagging far behind in terms birth centre provision  but it would appear that any moves to address this discrepancy have been actively stonewalled by the HSE and Department of Health.Ciara Considine of the Philomena Canning Campaign says “Given the unprecedented demand for birth centres here, combined with the fact that leading independent midwife Philomena Canning has been pursuing them for years, it begs the question as to why the HSE systematically refuses to support them. We are pursuing this with the Minister for Health and hope to bring this issue — along with the highly questionable circumstances surrounding Ms Canning’s unlawful suspension -which left 29 women without a home birth service at a moment’s notice – before an Oireachtas health committee hearing in the near future.”
Further results of the What Matters to You 2014 Survey will be presented by Dr. Krysia Lynch at the AIMSI AGM on Saturday 14th March The Outhouse, Capel St, Dublin 1at 1.30pm and Philomena Canning will speak on “Outcomes of a midwife’s practice under the HSE Home Birth Scheme, October 2008 – September 2014” at 2.30pm
More details on
For more information on AIMSI
For more information on midwifery led care
For more information on the Philomena Canning Campaign