Midwives cautious over 'two nurse plan'
MIDWIVES would welcome measures to have two nurses assisting a woman giving birth at home, as recommended by coroner John O'Dwyer.
However, Philomena Canning, a leading home-birth midwife, said it would not be possible for them to team up with a colleague from their existing ranks.
"There are just 15 of us in the country," she said. "If two of us assisted in a birth it would mean we would have to take on that extra workload and it would not be safe."
She said the existing home-birth midwives were waiting for the HSE to advertise for a panel of trained nurses who would assist the main midwife at the home birth.
These midwives would not take on individual cases themselves but would be on duty to accompany the main home-birth midwife when a woman goes into labour.
The HSE said it was willing to pay the second midwife a fee and originally suggested it should be possible for existing midwives to team up but this was not practical, she added.
"I believe there would be midwives who would be very interested in going on this kind of panel. It would be the task of the HSE to vet them and ensure they are suitable," said Ms Canning.
The Nursing and Midwifery of Ireland said it would consider the coroner's recommendations but could not say anything further.