Search

Petition launched to save Hackney home births

12:51 19 December 2012

Homerton Hospital,  Hackney.

Homerton Hospital, Hackney.

Archant

A petition has been launched to save home birth services in Hackney – which are set to be drastically scaled down.

Campaigners will attempt to prevent Homerton Hospital from reducing the number of midwives giving continuous one-to-one natal home care from six to four.

The reduction means the remaining staff will have to rotate, resulting in some pregnant women having to switch to a new midwife shortly before giving birth.

Until the change was announced last week, expectant mothers in the borough who opted for a home birth benefited from a single dedicated childbirth assistant throughout their term, unlike those delivering their child at the hospital in Homerton Row.

The petition was initiated by Hackney doula and home birth activist Rebecca Schiller, and has already collected over 1,000 signatures.

Ms Schiller said: “The scaling down is going to have quite a big impact on births in the borough.

“Midwives know their patients intimately and can notice subtle changes in their bodies which someone new cannot spot as easily.”

The hospital said that the reduction is due to a drop in demand for home births in Hackney, but Ms Schiller pointed out that rates regularly oscillate, and that some women who are transferred to the hospital only for delivery have benefited from months of personalised care at home.

A spokesperson for Homerton Hospital said: “I can assure you that this service is important to the maternity department, but while the home birth rate is currently low it is necessary and correct that we utilise two of the team midwives elsewhere in the service.”

The hospital added that it will expand the team if demand increases – but this is little comfort to Homerton resident Katy Beale, who is due to give birth in January without the midwife who has looked after her for the past eight months by her side.

The 35-year-old mother of one, who had a son at Homerton Hospital seven years ago, said: “My first birth was traumatic, and on the day I was seen by two midwives I have never met before. This time around I wanted to have a team of people around me who knew me well and whose skills I felt confident in.”

Birthplace in England, a study published last year which examined birth safety for low-risk women, concluded that, while there is an increased risk with first-time mothers having a baby at home, those who have already had a child saw less complications and more benefits for both the mother and baby.

Elizabeth Prochaska, a Hackney barrister and founder of the Birthrights organisation, said: “The team have been providing a gold standard service and were available to women from the moment they found out they were pregnant till after the birth”

Latest News Stories

Hackney Youth Parliament

More than 7,000 youngsters cast their vote in this year’s Hackney Youth Parliament elections in a record turnout.

10:31
Alderman Andrew Parmley awards David Annor with the Highly Commended Trainee of the Year Award at the City Business Traineeship Awards, held on 30th September

A high-flying young business trainee has been handed a prestigious award.

Yesterday, 17:01
The proposed development at Wilmer Place

Campaigners have failed in a High Court bid to block a new Sainsbury’s supermarket and flat development they say will blight a picturesque part of Stoke Newington.

Yesterday, 14:38
Tony Juniper talks at Zen launch event

A green initiative set to pioneer eco-friendly business in heavily polluted Tech City has been launched by the three councils which take in the thriving area.

Most read news

The family to which Ebola belongs could be as old as 23 million years.

The gaming industry’s answer to the Oscars has dished out its annual awards.

Potential female candidates are already being prepared for the upcoming diocese vacancies in Southwell, Nottingham, Gloucester and Oxford.

Watch the moment the Shadow Chancellor got interrupted by a daring arachnid.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hackney Gazette e-edition today E-edition