Midwife fails to secure injunction against HSE

Canning claimed decision to withdraw indemnity cover was unlawful

 Philomena Canning,  who provides home birth services, sought injunction against HSE. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Philomena Canning, who provides home birth services, sought injunction against HSE. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

 

A High Court judge has dismissed a midwife’s bid for an injunction preventing the HSE from withdrawing indemnity cover from her practice.

The application was brought by Philomena Canning, who provides home birth services. She claimed the HSE’s decision to withdraw her indemnity cover, taken earlier this month, is unlawful and has effectively shut down her practice.

The HSE, which opposed the application, said it temporarily suspended her insurance cover pending an investigation into the circumstances of two home births at which Ms Canning provided midwifery services.

The HSE argued that while no findings of wrongdoing had been made against Ms Canning, of Loreto Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin, it had to act in the interests of public health until the investigation into the incidents had been concluded.

In respect of the incidents, Ms Canning said she did not accept the standard of care she provided fell below the required levels.

Last night at the High Court, following submissions from both parties, Mr Justice Max Barrett said he was not prepared to grant Ms Canning an injunction restraining the HSE from withdrawing indemnity cover under its Clinical Indemnity Scheme.

The judge urged the HSE to conclude any investigation into incidents involving Ms Canning as soon as possible. He also suggested Ms Canning consider an “open offer” from the HSE that would allow her return to work.

The HSE had said it would restore her insurance if she worked alongside another midwife.