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”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

08:29
Petchey Academy

Thrill-seeking students took to rafts along white water rapids as part of a festival marking 10 years since London won the 2012 Olympic Games.

Yesterday, 15:00
Desmond Rodney

A Dalston man has been jailed for breaching his Asbo after being found in possession of crack cocaine and in a part of the borough he was banned from.

Yesterday, 09:00
Zoe Ranson

A writer has spoken of her delight in being shortlisted for a prestigious new award which recognises the wide scope of unpublished novellas.

Fri, 15:38
Gracel Mutombo

Gracel Mutombo was last seen on June 16 during the day in Kenninghall Road.

Most read news

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hackney Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder