Last month a HSE report (with no input from midwives) recommended limiting home births to women who live within 30 minutes from a maternity hospital.
That would mean a midwife-assisted home birth would no longer be an option for women living in vast swathes of West Cork and many other rural areas.
The Midwives Association of Ireland strongly opposes this recommendation.
When I raised this in the Dáil, Minister Mary Butler said she would pass on my concerns to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly.
We need to keep the pressure up. Email the Minister for Health (firstname.lastname@example.org), the HSE (email@example.com) and your local Govt TDs (www.whoismytd.com) to make sure your voice is heard:
Here is a sample email to send:
Dear Minister/Deputy xxx,
I urge you to reject the HSE recommendation to limit home births to women who live within 30 minutes of a maternity hospital. This move would restrict the options for women and families in rural areas around one of the most important life events. It is also contrary to the National Maternity Strategy’s priority to ensure ‘Women have access to safe, high quality, nationally consistent, woman-centred maternity care’.
This recommendation was developed with no input from midwives, clinicians, or women’s health advocates. I firmly agree with the Midwives Association of Ireland’s call for a reconsideration of this policy by engaging all stakeholders.
I am asking you to reject the HSE proposal, and commit to ensure that homebirths will be facilitated and that there will be increased investment in maternity services, especially midwife led services in rural areas.
I look forward to your reply.