Published 29 December 2020:
It is with a very heavy heart that we have made the decision to temporarily suspend the homebirth service offered by Kingston Maternity Unit with immediate effect.
The London Ambulance Service is dealing with unprecedented pressures due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has informed us that they cannot guarantee a timely response at maternity emergencies that may happen in the community. This means if a woman or her baby needed a swift transfer from home to hospital an ambulance may not be able to assist in a timely manner.
While we know that homebirth is a safe option and emergencies are rare, we cannot continue to provide a service in the knowledge that our ambulance service colleagues may not be able to attend when we most need them in the event of an emergency.
All women already booked with Kingston Homebirth service will be informed personally. They will continue to receive antenatal and postnatal care from their midwives. Women will also have the option to receive care from the Homebirth Team Midwives within the maternity unit birth centre rooms when they go into labour.
This is a temporary suspension and when the situation changes, we will resume the service as soon as possible. We know that this will be very disappointing for many families. However the safety of women and their babies is our primary concern, as always.