The maternity team at Ashford and St Peters Hospitals are absolutely committed to providing high quality safe care to our mothers and babies. In light of the current Covid-19 situation and nationwide lock-down, it is with our deepest regret that we have had to take the decision to pause the homebirth service.
This has been an incredibly difficult decision as we have been making good progress with our plans for developing the service which we now need to pause. To help you understand how we came to this difficult decision we have considered the following:
- ● The ambulance service is under considerable pressure, and a timely response to calls for transfer to the maternity unit in an emergency cannot be guaranteed.
- ● Our midwifery staff numbers are reduced due to many staff being unwell and self-isolating, along with the unprecedented clinical demands on the NHS as a whole.
We fully understand that this will be disappointing news for those who were planning a homebirth in the near future. We welcome all women currently booked for a homebirth to attend the Abbey Birth Centre which has a beautiful home from home environment. Our primary concern is to be able to provide you with safe care at all times and we just cannot currently do this at home because of the reasons above.
We will be implementing this pause with immediate effect, and we will be review this decision on a very regular basis taking into account national lock-down restrictions, freedom of movement, emergency response capacity and staffing levels.
We would encourage you to discuss any concerns with your community midwife, our wonderful MVP are also here to support you at this difficult time.
Gemma Puckett, Head of Midwifery
James Thomas, Divisional Director Women’s and Children’s