Mum denied home birth ‘should get £1,000’, says ombudsman

Jane Reeve and her daughter Cordelia ANL-160508-150137001
Jane Reeve and her daughter Cordelia ANL-160508-150137001

A woman from Pott Row denied a home birth by Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been recommended £1,000 as a consolatory payment by an ombudsman.

Jane Reeve gave birth to Cordelia, her second child, on July 25 last year, but wanted to have the birth at her home and had to pay £1,750 to have a private midwife on the day.

Mrs Reeve said that when her first daughter born in November 2012, merely 12 minutes after arriving at hospital, it was decided that any future babies would be born at home.

A report from the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) said that, as a result of this: “It was sensible, and safer, therefore, for her to birth her second baby at home.”

The QEH has not offered home births since before September 2013 when the service was suspended due to staffing problems.

It was initially said to be temporary but in March 2015 it gave notice it was being permanently terminated.

Since then, expectant mothers like Jane have not had the option of home births.

AIMS said that as a result of not being able to have her preferred birthing option at the hospital, Jane complained to the ombudsman.

It added: “The ombudsman upheld her complaint and found that “the length of time the Trust’s service has been suspended without any alternative home birth provision being offered or explored amounts to maladministration”.”

A spokeswoman for the QEH said that they could provide no comment on the case at this time as it is still open.

Mrs Reeve said that she had not yet heard anything about the hospital’s decision yet.

Commenting on the lack of this service, she added: “It’s unbelievable really.”

The ombudsman said: “We accept that Mrs Reeve was not denied adequate maternity care as the Trust explained that she could use their Central Delivery Suite and we have taken this into account.”

They added that if the Trust had looked into alternative ways to help with her home birth they may have had at a different view.

They said: “Due to the fact that no alternative home birth options were considered despite Mrs Reeve’s repeated requests that we have decided to uphold this complaint.”

Mrs Reeve has written an article about her ordeal named The Battle For Cordelia.