IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Change in Maternity Provision in Ireland,“Elephants on the Move”

Listed author(s):

    (University College Dublin)

Registered author(s):

    In an attempt to understand how change can occur in health services this article focuses on two recent developments in Ireland which came about as a result of an unexpected event and a consequent shift in policy which as Hinrichs (2001) and Castles (2010) suggest can be slow to move. Drawing on path dependency theory this article argues that maternity policies in Ireland were “locked in” between 1951 and 2001 in the wake of the Mother and Child controversy, an infamous milestone which led policy to develop along a very specific path and institutionalised the medical model of childbirth which has since endured. During the subsequent fifty years, the size of maternity units increased as did rates of medical interventions. Numbers of women giving birth at home declined from over a third in 1950 to less than one per cent today. This locked in policy for over half a century until it was challenged at the next critical juncture in 2001 when the withdrawal of insurance from two maternity units in the North East of Ireland led to their sudden closure in a region which was the area of greatest population growth in Western Europe. This led to a major shift in the hard to move “elephant” of maternity provision with potential to change policy on a national level in Ireland.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: First version,2012
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Economic and Social Studies in its journal Economic and Social Review.

    Volume (Year): 43 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 377-395

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:43:y:2012:i:3:p:377-395
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Kennedy, Patricia, 2010. "Healthcare reform: Maternity service provision in Ireland," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(2-3), pages 145-151, October.
    2. Aoife Brick & Richard Layte, 2011. "Exploring Trends in the Rate of Caesarean Section in Ireland 1999-2007," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 42(4), pages 383-406.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:43:y:2012:i:3:p:377-395. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martina Lawless)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.