Suspension of home birth service

Date: 31 December 2020

Digital maternity

The South East Coast Ambulance Trust, which serves Kent and Medway, has advised us that:

“Due to the current pressures we are experiencing across our urgent and emergency care services, we are no longer in a position to guarantee an ambulance response to those women choosing to plan their birth at home or within one of the three stand-alone birth centres in the region. 

“As an ambulance Trust, we always prioritise our the most seriously ill and injured patients. In light of the current operational pressures we are facing, we need to reduce the amount of planned activity that may require emergency ambulance transfer. Within maternity services this relates to homebirths and stand-alone birth centres”.

While home births are a safe way to give birth for many women, there is always a potential risk of complications. Access to an ambulance is vital for the small number of women who experience an emergency when giving birth at home and so, to ensure the safety of the women under our care, we are taking the decision to suspend our home birth service for the time being.

We will be contacting all of those women who had planned to give birth at home over the coming weeks, and support them in making arrangements to have their baby in our maternity unit at Medway Maritime Hospital.

We apologise for any disappointment experienced by women under our care who had planned to give birth at home, and stress that we are only taking these steps because we want to keep you safe when you have your baby.

We expect this suspension to last for at least the next three weeks (from 31/12/2020), but we will be keeping the situation under constant review and will resume offering home births as soon as we can. 

If you are pregnant and need information about this issue, or any other issue relating to your pregnancy, your health after giving birth or the health of your newborn baby, please call your named midwife or our main ‘Call the midwife’ number: 01634 825 277.

  • Summary:

    We will be contacting all of those women who had planned to give birth at home over the coming weeks, and support them in making arrangements to have their baby in our maternity unit at Medway Maritime Hospital.