Closure of home births across Staffordshire

As you will be aware the current demand for NHS services has risen exponential and locally we are working hard across the healthcare system to meet the needs of local people as quickly and as safely as possible. Whilst the number of patients we are caring for with Covid-19 is thankfully not at the levels we experienced at the height of the pandemic, we are facing unprecedented workforce challenges due to COVID-19 infection and isolation.

Our priority is to ensure that we deliver safe services and based on the strong advice from our clinical teams we are having to take the very difficult decision to temporarily close home birthing services. Home birth services at UHNM have been suspended temporarily on multiple occasions over the last four weeks and to ensure that all of our maternity services are as safe as possible we are now informing the women who were planning to use this service (which currently averages two women each month) that it will be closed until the 30 September 2021. Those women who are affected are being contacted and will be offered the choice of giving birth in UHNM’s Midwife Birth Centre at Royal Stoke Hospital and will continue to be supported by the midwifery team throughout their pregnancy and birth.

The temporary closure of home birth services is not a decision we have taken lightly. It has been made to enable the midwives who are on call for home births to be redeployed on to the Royal Stoke site and ensure that there are enough specialist staff available in the Midwife Birth Centre. By taking this difficult decision we will be able to continue with our programme of antenatal and postnatal clinics supporting the women and their babies which if we had to rearrange would affect over 30 women.

I would like to stress that this is a temporary change, made for safety reasons and we are aiming to reinstate the home birthing service from the 1 October 2021 or as workforce challenges allow. As always we are more than happy to discuss any questions you may have relating to the temporary change.

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