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Homerton Hospital (East London) reducing its Home Birth Team from 6 to 4 midwives

(20 Posts)
bealos Thu 20-Dec-12 15:16:27

Good news! Positive outcomes from meeting with Homerton Hospital...

Dear Petitioners

thank you for your energy, commitment and interest in the campaign to protect the home birth provision at Homerton hospital.

I am pleased to let you know that the strength of feeling and sheer volume of responses to the issue prompted a meeting on Tuesday between Joan Douglas (Head of Midwifery at Homerton), Daniel Waldron (Divisional Operations Director), myself, Elizabeth Prochaska (Hackney resident, Homerton volunteer, barrister) and Karen Elmes (recent home birth team user).

We presented the Homerton team with the petition of over 1000 signatures and a selection of the comments that we have received in support and praise of the home birth service in Hackney.

The Homerton team were able to clarify that:
- the team was being now being reduced to five not four members as the midwife who has elected to go on secondment will be replaced
- that this reduction was based on a lower home birth rate and smaller caseload of late
- that increased demand for the service would lead to an increase in midwife provision once again
- that they were committed to and passionate about providing a viable home birth service in Hackney and Waltham Forest

The group representing the petitioners were able to communicate that:
- the nature of the caseloading service meant that women were directly affected when changes were made and that the Trust had a responsibility to these women
- that the Homerton home birth team were hugely popular with the local community and that changes to the model were inevitably going to be met with concern
- that the service the home birth team provide was seen by many, including other Trusts and midwives, as setting a gold-standard for maternity provision
- that we felt the service should be celebrated, promoted and the comments received over the past weeks used as positive communications for the Trust
- that many women were unhappy to be parted from their midwife, particularly those in the final trimester of pregnancy and would be keen to retain her care
- that there is keen interest, investment and commitment to protecting and expanding home birth provision in the area
- that the caseloading element of the service is what women are most passionate about

At the end of the meeting the group had reached a consensus as to the way forwards. Those representing Homerton University Hospital NHS trust committed to the following three key action points that we asked of them:

1. That they would take on board the degree of distress at the decision, the lack of stakeholder involvement in this decision and lack of communication around it. They had learnt from this process and would take these lessons on board in future when considering proposals which might impact on service users. They would also seek service user participation in any future decision making process.

2. That they would commit to producing an in-depth strategy for the provision and promotion of home birth in the Trust's catchment area. That they would request the involvement of the MSLC (Maternity Services Liaison Committee) with this process, key members of the midwifery team, volunteers, service-users and representatives from the petitioners in devising and implementing this strategy. This strategy will be entirely collaborative and will seek to widen access to, knowledge of and uptake of home birth in the area.

3. That they would work with those women, in the last two months of their pregnancy, who have been directly affected by the rotation of a midwife away from the team. The midwife will continue to be part of the homebirth on call rota during this period.

Though this has been a difficult and stressful time for many, those at the meeting felt that real progress and positive change could come out of it. We will of course keep you updated about how this progresses and ensure you have the chance to participate in developing and delivering the new home birth strategy.

In the meantime I will be suspending the petition and thanking you all for making this possible.

Kind regards

Rebecca Schiller

bealos Wed 19-Dec-12 18:42:19

News articles today in:

The Evening Standard
Hackney Gazette

(quite possibly, er, featuring me)

Petition now has over 1000 signatures!

I am very interested in the stats which show demand for home birth has reduced. As far as I was aware, numbers for ALL births had reduced this Summer in Hackney, not solely home births. And 2013 is supposed to be baby boom year.

MrsHowardRoark Mon 17-Dec-12 22:33:10

Oh I'm so sorry to hear that.

She always spoke very highly about the rest of the team though and I'm sure you will get the best of care.

bealos Mon 17-Dec-12 22:01:13

mrshoward It's Angela who is being focred out. I'm 8 months pregnant and have had her all the way through my pregnancy... her last appointment with me will be Christmas Eve. /sob/

hackneyzoo Mon 17-Dec-12 20:13:52

I will sign the petition, had DC2 and DC3 under thier wonderful care! The care was far more consitent with the HB team and even though DC3 ended up being born in the birth centre I still got to see the HB team for PN follow ups.

MrsHowardRoark Mon 17-Dec-12 20:09:53

I have and I will!

I don't know who is leaving but if you get Angela, she is fantastic and I'm sure will make your home birth a positive experience.

bealos Mon 17-Dec-12 18:37:02

mrshoward still worth writing a letter now!

MrsHowardRoark Mon 17-Dec-12 18:36:03

This is sad news.

I had my PFB at home with this team and they were fabulous.

My midwife was always asking me to write to the hospital to praise the service, so perhaps she knew they were under threat.

bealos Mon 17-Dec-12 18:04:45

Just been interview and photographed by the Evening Standard, so the story may hit the news tomorrow! Also did an interview for the Hackney Gazette today.

Hilarious. Not something I would normally clamour for!

jumblequeen Fri 14-Dec-12 19:02:55

LaVolcan, Bealos - I wholeheartedly agree. I saw so many of the medical staff at Homerton during my marathon labour that some had gone home and come back the next day for another shift..!

bealos Fri 14-Dec-12 09:47:08

lavolcan yes! the 'conveyor belt' feeling is just horrible. Hospitals treat pregnant women like sick people to be monitored and prodded. There is (barely) any thought into the emotional and psychological side of pregnancy and birth.

LaVolcan Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:16

I've signed too even though I am nowhere near London and my childbearing days are over. It is important to me because I had a homebirth for my second and think that it was a vastly superior and safer form of care than the standard hospital package.

I was seen by at least 28 people in my first pregnancy from ante-natally, delivery and then post-natally and felt that I was just on a conveyor beld. So even if you don't have your own midwife for the delivery it still must be better to get one of four/six people you have already met. (And no, I wasn't a high risk pregnancy.)

nannyl Thu 13-Dec-12 21:51:13


dont live any where near london, but am passionate about all of our rights to choose a homebirth, for everyone everywhere

PollyIndia Thu 13-Dec-12 21:34:42

Signed - I am in walthamstow but had a homebirth. Actually there are only 2 homebirth midwives here and both were off when I went into labour but the 2 that came in their place were wonderful, despite me not knowing them.

Still, it's not ideal. Far better to have a robust team for a service that people want and is becoming more not less popular.

getoutofit Thu 13-Dec-12 18:46:13

It is really important and needs more women to want a home birth so needs to be talked about early on in the ante natal process. Don't forget though that if the midwife you have been seeing isn't on call when you go into labour you'll have someone else so there's no guarantee but you do get the opportunity to meet all the team before that.

bealos Thu 13-Dec-12 18:37:53

Bumping again - we have over 600 signatures.... let's get it to 1000!

jumblequeen Wed 12-Dec-12 12:31:41

Blimey - I had no idea. I'm planning to have a homebirth myself this time round (I don't much fancy the labour ward at Homerton again, truth be told)... Signed, sealed, delivered!

sausagerolemodel Wed 12-Dec-12 12:17:21

Bump bump bump - only needs another 150 signatures. Please help if you can!

sausagerolemodel Wed 12-Dec-12 09:44:29

Bumping this as was going to put a thread up myself. This is really important in supporting the principle of choice for women to give birth in the way they choose, not be forced into hospital if they don't want to be. We only need 500 signatures.l please please add your support. If homerton's decision can b changed hopefully this will stop the drip drip effect nd cutbacks elsewhere.

bealos Tue 11-Dec-12 18:39:56

Homerton Hospital are (suddenly) reducing their Home Birth Team, which means I'll lose the lovely midwife I've been seeing throughout my pregnancy and will now have someone I don't know for the birth.... sad

Apart from that, the service has seen a growth in home birth rates and has been hugely popular with women in the area providing one-to-one care, excellent statistics (9% caesarean rate against 26% in Homerton Hospital itself), real choice of place of birth and a respect for women's right to autonomy during pregnancy and birth.

For the last two years Homerton University Hospital has provided a dedicated home birth team of six midwives. This service will be drastically cut as of the end of this year leaving it unable to provide an adequate provision for home birth in Hackney.

Please sign the petition to find out what's going on and support a fully operational Home Birth Team in Hackney.

(My belief is there's something fishy going on here - the home birth team were not consulted about the cuts, and the team has been incredibly successful and popular. Home births are cheaper for the NHS than hospital births.)

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