An expectant mother is calling for a full consultation with West Norfolk women on whether they would like home births.
Jane Reeve wants to give birth to her second child at her Pott Row home in July and is forking out £1,750 to be attended by a private midwife on the day.
Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has not offered home births since before September 2013 when the service was suspended due to staffing problems. The hospital initially said it was a temporary suspension but in March last year it gave notice it was being permanently terminated.
The hospital is creating a midwife led maternity unit and expects to have it functioning in the autumn.
Mrs Reeve has complained to the hospital and West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group for not having a home birth service.
She is now calling for a full consultation with women of child bearing age to find out what they want.
Mrs Reeve said: “They say the termination of the service is down to staff shortages and that only one per cent of women want a home birth.
“But how do they know that only one per cent of women want a home birth if they have not done a consultation?
“They have to talk to everyone that could potentially want to have that service and not just the small minority that happen to be pregnant at the time.”
Mrs Reeve says it would be safer to have a home birth as she arrived at the midwife led unit at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital just 12 minutes before giving birth to her daughter Trinity in 2012.
She says that research has show that personalised midwifery care is cheaper and safer with 12 per cent fewer instrumental deliveries and 17 per cent fewer epidurals.
Mrs Reeve’s current due date is July 9.
She said “My first birth happened very quickly and all the research points towards it being safer for women, like me, who are of low risk.
“Home births are safer and secure. I would not be stressed as I would know where I am and what is going on around me. I can do my own thing, listen to music, do my yoga breathing techniques. I wouldn’t have hundreds of people poking and proding me.”
Catherine Morgan, director of nursing at the hospital, said the trust appreciates that some mums would prefer to give birth at home.
She said: “The senior managers of the women and children division have met with all the women expressing an interest in having a home delivery and the trust executive board, senior managers and matrons for the service are in regular contact with the maternity service liaison committee, West Norfolk Alliance, Healthwatch, the Birth Matters group and clinical commissioning group.
“Together they ensure that the dialogue is maintained and we welcome any further communications with current or perspective service users.
“A consultation has not been undertaken as this was driven by service need, however all expectant mums in West Norfolk, irrespective of their planned choice of delivery, have been sent a letter which identifies the reason behind the suspension of this service.
“A combination of staffing and requirements for the Trust to comply with working time directive, alongside changes to our on-call system, resulted in the suspension.
“The midwifery-led birthing unit (MLBU) is one of the work streams within the Maternity Modernisation board and has been prioritised by the CEO to be in place and functioning by Autumn 2015.
“As the Trust continues to aim for excellent patient experience we would welcome any further communication from prospective parents and service users to be.”
In July last year, West Norfolk Clinicial Commissioning Group agreed to report the hospital to Monitor for not providing a home birth service. The hospital is obliged to provide the service under its licence.