Home   Thanet   News   Article

Home birth service suspended by East Kent Hospitals Trust and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust due to 'significant pressure' on ambulance service

Mums-to-be hoping to give birth at home have been told this is not possible due to significant pressures on the ambulance service.

Bosses at East Kent Hospitals Trust, which runs the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and QEQM in Margate, and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust have suspended home births for the time being to help ease the strain on stretched crews during the pandemic.

QEQM Hospital in Margate. Picture: Google Street View
QEQM Hospital in Margate. Picture: Google Street View

They initially stopped them in April, with the home birth service resuming in a phased way in June.

But a suspension has been brought in again, due to the risk of complications arising during labour and the subsequent need for an ambulance to be called by midwives.

An East Kent Hospitals spokesman says it was a difficult decision to make and taken on the advice of the ambulance service, with all hospital trusts in Kent affected.

"At the moment our local ambulance service is under significant pressure which means their support, including for complications that can arise during home births, will be stretched," the spokesman said.

"As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to suspend our home birth service for now.

QEQM Hospital in Margate. Picture: Google Street View
QEQM Hospital in Margate. Picture: Google Street View

"We know this will be disappointing for many of you at such an important time for you and your family and we are very sorry.

"We continue to run a full maternity service from our Midwifery Led Units and the labour wards at the William Harvey Hospital and QEQM Hospital and look forward to welcoming you there for the birth of your baby."

A similar announcement suspending home birth services was made by Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust.

Worrying new figures today show more people are dying with coronavirus in east Kent’s hospitals than anywhere else in England.

NHS statistics show there have been 125 Covid-19 deaths recorded at sites run by the East Kent Hospitals Trust in the last fortnight, with 40% of beds now occupied by a patient with the virus.

On Tuesday there were 415 patients with coronavirus across the trust’s sites - almost double the peak of the first wave on April 20, when there were 187.

It means 40% of 1,030 available hospital beds are now taken up by Covid-19 patients.

Medical experts say anything over 20% represents a “dangerous level”.

For all information regarding maternity services visit the trust's website.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More