Expectant mothers in West Norfolk will be able to give birth in their own homes from next year.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Board of Directors has approved the reinstatement of the Home Birth Service as part of a new pathway during its public meeting earlier today (Tuesday, November 29).
The service was suspended in September 2013 due to an inability to sustain the service due to staffing challenges, which have subsequently been resolved following a concerted effort by the Trust.
Home births will be offered from February 2017 as part of a new Midwife-Led Pathway, which will cater for women with low risk pregnancies who prefer a less clinical approach.
Director of Nursing Catherine Morgan said: “We are pleased to be offering the option of a home birth to women who are having low risk pregnancies from next year.
“Our aim has always been to meet the needs of expectant mothers by providing as much choice as possible but our top priority has to be safety. The Trust has already made great strides in its long-term plans for maternity and achieved the first phase last year with the opening of The Waterlily Birth Centre. This midwife led unit with its birthing pools and homely environment has proved to be very popular with families.
“The Trust is committed to providing a safe and sustainable service for expectant mothers and their babies.”
The introduction of a Midwife-Led Pathway, which follows women on their journey from antenatal to postnatal care, is another long-term vision of the Trust.
Divisional head of Women and Children Services Lesley Deacon said: “The new pathway supports midwives following women through their journey rather than women accessing services. The pathway will increase choice for women and improve the continuity of carer, which we know is a hugely beneficial to both women and midwives.
“I am very passionate about women’s choice and really excited with this new model of care.”
Maggie Carter, Director of Quality Assurance at West Norfolk CCG, welcomed plans to reinstate the Home Birth service at the hospital in 2017.
She said: “Along with the midwifery-led birthing unit, which opened in December 2015, if approved, these plans will support increased birth place choices for women in West Norfolk. The CCG remains committed to commissioning high quality and effective maternity services for local women.”