End the home birth suspension at University Hospital Derby and Burton.

End the home birth suspension at University Hospital Derby and Burton.

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Fertiliy, Birth & Beyond Nicola Carter started this petition to Gavin Boyle - Chief Executive and

Once again University Hospital Derby and Burton (UHDB) have suspended their home birth service. They have invoked another 3 week suspension, immediately after a previous suspension, with no assurance that there won't be yet further suspensions.

Women and birthing people have a right to have a home birth if they choose, and suspension of service due to staff shortages is not an acceptable reason*.

We expect UHDB to be able to foresee and manage staff shortages in the same way any other services or business would. To simply remove a woman's right to a home birth as their solution is unacceptable.

We understand that, very occasionally, there may be times when a service genuinely cannot be supported, but this should be an infrequent occurrence and should, most definitely, not be for prolonged periods of time.

It is fair to expect that UHDB have contingency plans in place for staff shortages in key areas such as maternity services and not to not leave women without home birth support for weeks on end.

Local doula's are working together to petition the hospital Chief Executive, the Head of Maternity Transformation and the Director of Midwifery to work together to get this resolved immediately and, to put plans in place to avoid the need for future suspensions of the home birth service at UHDB.

We are aware of a statement recently released by UHDB explaining that the reason for the home birth suspension is to 'keep women safe'. Women are not required to choose between being 'safe' and giving birth at home, they are entitled to both.

*Birthrights.org explains - 

"You have a right to choose where you give birth. You cannot be made to go to hospital. Healthcare professionals may want to talk to you about your plans and any concerns they have. This should be an opportunity to have an open discussion and to share information. They should always respect your views and choices.

All NHS Trusts are expected to run a home birth service. This is not guaranteed in law, but the law says that your right to choose where to give birth should only be restricted when there is a good reason to do this, and where the decision is ‘proportionate’. 

This means that a Trust should only pause their home birth service if they have looked at all the options for keeping it going and they are still unable to.

If you are told you cannot give birth at home because of staff shortages, remind the hospital that it must make sure there are enough staff to provide the services it has promised. They should have plans for situations such as staff shortages. This could include providing an independent midwife."

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