A proposal, which would have restricted home births in Kerry to within half an hour of a hospital, has been put on hold for now.
It’s believed the HSE National Women and Infants Health Programme issued an order for this change.
Now, the move has been halted in Kerry and Cork, the two counties with the largest number of homebirths, until a further review is carried out.
The service overseeing home births, the HSE National Home Birth Service, is moving from community healthcare to the acute hospital network.
No changes had been expected in the service, but then the HSE National Women and Infants Health Programme issued a recommendation that those having home births should be living half an hour or less from their nearest maternity hospital.
There were major concerns about this, particularly in Kerry and Cork, as they are the two counties with the highest number of home births in the country.
Spokeswoman for the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services (AIMS) Ireland, Krysia Lynch, told Radio Kerry News this would have a serious impact on people in Kerry and Cork.
She says huge numbers of women have to travel several hours from remote parts of the counties to maternity hospitals, so it makes sense that women with a low risk should have access to the home birth service.
She said the service in the region was reviewed by a committee involving midwives, doctors, managers, and patients, and concluded that removing the service would affect a lot of people.
Ms Lynch says this proposal to limit services in Kerry and Cork has been halted for now, pending a further review, which she hopes will conclude the service can continue as normal.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has also intervened, and has requested that the steering group overseeing the transfer from community to acute services be convened this month.