New home-from-home birthing area at King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is investing £10,000 to create a more homely area where women can give birth within its delivery suite.

An area at one end of the suite is being divided off and rooms there will be less clinical and specifically set aside for women who want less intervention.

Director of Nursing at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Catherine Morgan, said: “We are planning to create an area within our Central Delivery Suite for mothers who are expected to have a straightforward delivery without complications and who would like to do so in surroundings that are less clinical but still under the supervision of a midwife.

“This area will comprise a number of rooms separated from the remainder of the unit and the general feel will be of a comfortable area that is more domestic than hospital.

“This will not be a stand-alone midwife-led unit but an additional facility within our existing delivery area for mothers expected to have a normal birth.”

The QEH is the only hospital in East Anglia not to have a separate midwife-led unit, offering women a more home-from-home birthing experience. Plans were previously drawn up to create one but they never came to fruition.

The hospital is under review for its controversial decision to end its home birth service. The service is requested by around 25-30 women out of 2,400 and the hospital has said it does not have the staff to safely provide it.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines are for women to have the choice of giving birth in a midwife led unit or at home.

Helen Meehan, a member of the supervisors of midwives at the hospital, said the new area within the delivery suite is a step in the right direction.

She said: “Rather than geography, it’s about philosophy. It’s about the way women feel about the environment they are in.”

The new area is likely to include the birthing pool room, one room with a sofa instead of a bed and one room with kitchen facilities.