University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has today made the decision to temporarily step down its home birthing service across Barrow, Lancaster and Kendal to ensure the safety of its patients and staff during COVID-19.
It is also temporarily suspending some of the service at Helme Chase in Westmorland General Hospital, meaning women will not be able to give birth there. Both of these changes will come into effect from Monday 30 March 2020.
Mums-to-be who had planned to give birth at home or at Helme Chase will be contacted by their community midwife who will support them with any worries they may have and talk through alternative birthing options.
Clinics and breast feeding support at Helme Chase will carry on as normal.
To offer the current service at Helme Chase and the home birthing service, the Trust has to have six midwives on call, every night, once a mum-to-be reaches 37 weeks up to delivery.
Carole Carlile, Head of Midwifery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UHMBT, said: “We have taken the decision to temporarily stand down the service at Helme Chase and our home birthing service due to the ongoing situation around COVID-19.
“The Trust feels at this time that it is important to utilise our midwives in a different way which will ensure both the safety of our patients and staff. Midwives who would normally be working at Helme Chase or on call for home births will be deployed to other areas of the service, including helping to support more complex births within our hospitals and helping to support women in the community.
“We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and follow national guidance. We will keep our website and maternity app updated and urge any mums-to-be with any concerns to contact their community midwife.”