AIMS Ireland Statement: Midwife Philomena Canning Reinstated

Feb 27, 2015: AIMS Ireland Statement regarding Philomena Canning being reinstated to practice by HSE

Once again, AIMSI would like to highlight the stark inconsistencies with which the HSE will shut down an independent midwife’s practice with ‘no foundation’ while continuing to ignore the grave concerns arising in some hospital maternity services.

While AIMS Ireland are delighted that Philomena Canning can now return to caring for women and babies, many questions remain on how the HSE were supported to illegally purse a midwife who followed protocol and appropriate practice guidelines set out by the HSE themselves in the first place.

A faction within the HSE were allowed to break precedent in removing a midwife from her practice, with no adverse outcome or foundation, while other clinicians continue to practice without suspension following adverse outcomes in maternity hospitals during the same period. This action not only undermines the national home birth service and clinical practice of Philomena Canning, but left 29 women and their babies at risk without care options.

AIMS Ireland note that the timing of this action against Philomena Canning occurred following announcements that she was setting up Ireland’s first birth centre and statements of concern regarding the HSE criteria for homebirth and conditions within the MOU which undermine women’s rights. It is clear to AIMS Ireland that this case was a ‘warning shot’ by the HSE.

The HSE need to answer the many questions arising from this injustice and the many others like it. AIMS Ireland are in full support of an independent inquiry into events contributing to the action against Philomena Canning.

AIMS Ireland expects to see the HSE act to swiftly withdraw cover from any clinician involved in future incidents with adverse outcomes in all maternity settings. We expect the HSE to apply this new high bar for all health care providers. Women giving birth in hospital deserve the same protections afforded to homebirth mothers.

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