Letters: Nicky Garrett, March 20, 2015

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In response to your article of March 6 on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital home birth service, imagine the refusal to provide a home birth service was the other way around......

Imagine that the hospital withdrew its provision for hospital births and insisted that all women give birth at home. There would justifiably be outrage at national level. Well, for those women who choose to give birth at home and whose choice has been denied by the QEH for 18 months now (and from the information printed looks likely to continue for at least another two years), the outrage is no less strongly felt and no less justified.

The postcode lottery that these women are the victim of is unacceptable, AND it is unnecessary.

The independent midwives of the area have put a proposal to both the QEH and the West Norfolk CCG to work collaboratively to provide the home birth service until such time as the hospital is able to reinstate its own service. This suggestion is not without precedent: in 2011 Whipps Cross Hospital, London withdrew its home birth service temporarily and funded the local independent midwives to provide the service. This arrangement worked well, to the satisfaction of all parties. Most importantly, the hospital recognised its obligations and the local women were provided with an appropriate service.

It is concerning to us that the current hospital management appear to have attached so little importance to the home birth service that they have not responded to our proposal in any way, not least because the longer they fail to provide a home birth service, the more likely they are to be sued by their service users.

Nicky Garrett,

Iceni Independent Midwifery