Home births may be restricted by some trusts, says NHS maternity doctor

An NHS maternity doctor has told ITV News that home births by some trusts may soon become impossible as services are restricted by the spread of coronavirus.

Dr Larisa Corda, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, said that the ambulance service was "finding it really difficult to cope," adding: "It may be the case of all births being potentially centralised in hospitals now."

Hospitals have been forced to restrict visitor numbers at births to reduce the chance of infection.

  • Dr Larisa Corda warns home births may soon become impossible:

Dr Corda said: "We are really having to clamp down and be strict with that because of infection risks as well.

"So, though women will be allowed one visitor with them during labour, it has to be kept really strict and postnatally it may not be possible."

"Maternity units are constantly reviewing the situation and having to make some difficult decisions to protect our women, our health professionals and reduce the spread of coronavirus."

Landmarks have lit up blue in support of NHS staff working through the crisis. Credit: PA

Speaking after a 12-hour frontline shift, Dr Corda said that staff were trying to keep spirits up on the wards: "It's good to have a purpose coming in, and to feel like you are doing a really important job."

But she said that she had heard about reported cases of abuse against NHS workers.

"It's really hard to hear about certain things happening like staff getting mugged for their ID so people can use that in order to claim free services.

"That’s really hard to fathom that people would actually do that."

She added: "I struggle to understand any of that as I am sure many of you do.

"Whoever is doing it just stop and consider the effect on the person that the assault is being mounted against and what they're doing to try and safe your life or the life of someone in your family"

The ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale hospital - to help tackle the pandemic. Credit: PA

An NHS spokesperson said: "NHS staff are working round the clock to respond to the biggest global health threat in a generation, while also ensuring that people can still access vital services like maternity care in as safe a way as possible.

"This may mean that conversations need to take place between women and their care teams about the best and safest options for their labour, and that there may need to be limits on visitors during labour, though a specific exception can be made if clinical staff also agree it is safe."

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