The independent London newspaper

Home births stopped after coronavirus hits maternity staff

Hospital managers says they have been forced into 'extremely tough decision'

30 March, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Hospital shake up also sees all hospitals’ children’s emergency services moved to Whittington 

EXPECTANT mothers have been told to rule-out home births after NHS hospitals suspended the service.

Whittington, Royal Free and University College hospitals have introduced a range of “temporary changes” to ensure maternity services remain safe during the coronavirus outbreak. 

A statement from the Whittington said: “Due to the impact of the pandemic on maternity staffing, alongside the other trusts in North Central London we are temporarily suspending home birth services.

“We know that these are extremely difficult times and we want to do whatever we can to reassure women due to give birth and support them to have a safe delivery in line with their birth choices.

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“This has been an extremely tough decision for us and the other hospitals involved, given the importance of respecting and honouring the birth plans that women have chosen.”

Maternity patients are asked to enter the Labour ward through the entrance on Highgate Hill, rather than the main entrance in Magdala Avenue.

The hospital wants to “reduce the number of people walking through the hospital and make it easier for people to remain two metres apart”.

There has also been a major change to children’s services as part of the shake-up that is designed to ensure patients without the virus can be cared for without fear of infection. The idea is to free up space in designated hospitals for coronavirus patients.

As part of this, UCLH is moving all emergency services for children to the Whittington, entrance in Mandala Avenue, from this morning (Monday).  Any children requiring admission will then be transferred by London Ambulance Service to Great Ormond Street Hospital for on-going care. All children inpatients services will be carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital.


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