Cesarean Rates of Irish Hospitals Now Public

By Jill Arnold

Way to go, AIMS Ireland for making Ireland's Health Service Executive hospital data accessible to consumers. According to the Health Service Executive Wikipedia page, HSE is "responsible for the provision of healthcare providing health and personal social services for everyone living in Ireland, with public funds."

AIMS Ireland, or Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, Ireland, is a consumer-led volunteer organization founded in 2007. 

The data, which include c-section deliveries, instrumental deliveries, non-instrumental deliveries, episiotomy rates, perineal lacerations and breastfeeding rates by hospital were released to AIMS Ireland on an FOI request. As in the United States and Canada, procedure utilization rate vary widely based on geography.

On their Facebook page, AIMS Ireland released the following statement two hours ago:

Background on AIMSI FOI request: In March 2013, AIMSI were tipped off by concerned employees of the HSE over growing rates of episiotomy in several regional maternity units across Ireland - of which the episiotomy rates were unavailable. 

AIMS Ireland decided to FOI the HSE to seek a full set of statistics on the percentages of total episiotomies performed in each maternity unit in Ireland. Episiotomy was a specific intervention of concern due to growing numbers of women seeking support services following episiotomy, reports of increasing rates from HSE employees, and the evidence against episiotomy and the NICE "Do Not Do" list.

AIMS Ireland also decided to seek the full set of statistics of Caesarean Section, Instrumental Deliveries, Non-Instrumental Deliveries, and the percentages of deliveries resulting in 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, and 4th degree tears in order to provide women with a complete set of statistics to aid informed decision making when choosing their maternity unit and birth preferences.

In March, AIMS Ireland put forward a FOI request - which was denied. The process proved to be a long and difficult process, which AIMS Ireland highlighted in a blog post in July seen here:http://nocountryforpregnantwomen.blogspot.ie/2013/07/your-service-your-say.html

In late December, the FOI was granted and the full set of statistics from the HSE were released without voluntary permissions from the maternity units.

These statistics are a matter of public significance in order to assist women in informed decision making and hold individual units accountable for regional variations and practice which exceeds evidence based recommendations.

Since 2007, AIMS Ireland has called for the full transparency in the publication of clinical statistics in Irish maternity units. 

AIMS Ireland urges the HSE to publish these statistics annually, online, for each maternity unit, in order to assist women in their birth choices.


AIMS Ireland's consumer-friendly data can be found on the AIMS Ireland web site


Additional Irish perinatal data (not hospital specific) can be found in the The Perinatal Statistics Report, which is based on data collected for the National Perinatal Reporting System (NPRS) and provides information on mothers giving birth and babies born in 2012.