No decision reached over future of West Norfolk home birth service, health bosses insist

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The future of maternity cover in West Norfolk remains uncertain amid claims a home birth service has been axed for good.

Health chiefs have denied the suggestion, though they admit no decision has been made on when the service, which remains suspended, might be reinstated.

Critics say the issue needs to be resolved quickly in order to stop more women being denied the care they want.

Although home birth cover is normally provided by Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, its future is being considered by the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the body which decides how money on health care in the borough is spent.

Kathryn Ellis, the CCG’s director of operations and strategy, said: “West Norfolk CCG is currently in discussion with the QEH about the long term provision of maternity services, including home births.

“The CCG maintains its commitment to commissioning high quality and effective maternity services for women in the west of Norfolk.”

A hospital spokesman added that there had been no indication of when a final decision might be made.

But one mother-to-be said she would be having a home birth on her own, as she was not prepared to go to the QEH and could not get to another unit in time.

The woman, who did not wish to be identified, said she she was also planning legal action against the hospital, adding: “It is not morally or ethically right for the QEH to decide how I should give birth.”

“I am absolutely devastated. So few women have stood up to them over this, but I believe it should be a woman’s choice to decide how she gives birth.”

Independent midwife Nicky Garrett, who has seen an increase in enquiries about her service since the problem first came to light, has also called for urgent action.

She said: “They are going against government policy and they need to get themselves sorted very quickly.”