In response to the increased demands the ambulance service are currently experiencing because of the pandemic, and the effect this is having on ambulance response times, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust have taken the difficult decision to suspended home births and births at the Crowborough Birthing Centre at the present time.
Crowborough Birth Centre provides low-risk midwife-led care. In obstetric emergencies, a patient would be transferred by ambulance to Tunbridge Wells Hospital where consultant-led care can be provided.
Head of Midwifery, Sarah Blanchard-Stow posted the following video on Facebook on New Year’s Eve:
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust work very closely with the South East Coast Ambulance Foundation Trust, and in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic and the increased demand for ambulance services we have been closely reviewing and monitoring ambulance response times, and the impact this may have on some of our services. This provides us with insight into the safety of our out of hospital birthing choices.
In light of this and the significant pressures on SECamb’s services we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend some of our out of hospital services until further notice.
Since the decision was made on Thursday evening staff have set up rooms in the hospital in order for us to facilitate mother’s birth preferences as much as possible. These rooms include birth pools, birth balls and couches.
For the latest information please see the maternity page on the Trust’s website: www.mtw.nhs.uk. Women should contact their midwife for advice or call the Maternity Triage telephone line on 01892 633500 / 633503 (open 24 hours a day / 7 days per week).
A statement on the Trust’s website reads:
While we understand that this may be upsetting news, we are committed to maintaining safe standards of care and the safety of families in our care is paramount. We continue to monitor this situation extremely closely and will resume normal services across the board as soon as safe to do so.