Sunday 21 July 2024
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24-hour home birth service resumes after four years

Nottingham University Hospitals will resume its 24-hour home birth service four years after it was first cut.

The trust, which runs Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital reduced the hours of the service in 2020 during the pandemic.

The service was then suspended entirely in January 2024.

A decision has now been taken to resume the service from March 27.

‘Long and painful process’

Nicky Grace, midwife and co-founder of the Nottingham Home Birth Group, said it had been a “long and painful process”.

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The charity Birthrights says all NHS Trusts are expected to run a home birth service, but this is not guaranteed in law.

Maternity services at the trust are currently rated as ‘requires improvement’ by the healthcare watchdog.

The home birth group in Nottingham started in 2007 and its members have campaigned to get the service reinstated.

‘Wonderful news for women and families’

Ms Grace said: “This is wonderful news for women and families in Nottingham. We have witnessed and tried to help while the service has been reduced or absent and this has been a long and painful process.
“We wish the new service every success and look forward to hearing the birth stories of women, partners and families.”

Group meetings

The group meets at the Homemade cafe at the Forest Recreation Ground, 10am-12.30 pm on the third Friday of every month.

The full suspension of the service was agreed in January while a review was carried out into how the service was staffed and supported.

Sharon Wallis, Director of Midwifery at the trust, said: “We have always been committed to a full home birth service as we know it is the right thing to do for our mums to be, however, we also have a responsibility to ensure any service can be safely staffed and sustainable.

“I want to thank local birthing people and their families for their patience while we have put plans in place and am pleased that we have been able to now offer a 24-hour service for those individuals that meet the criteria for a home birth.

“Our Home Birth team lead joined the Trust in January and we continue to recruit to a full team, and in the interim, I am grateful to colleagues from our community and hospital teams who have committed to additional shifts to enable us to offer the service now.”

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