New homebirth team at Homerton hospital
I went to the newish Hackney homebirth support group last night (http://hackneyhomebirth.tumblr.com/). Angela, from the new Homerton homebirth team, came along for the first hour to explain the new system and it sounds great!- the new team is keen for women to book with them directly avoiding any GPs/midwives who have anti-homebirth agendas and to ensure continuity of care from the beginning. She’s going to share the best contact details for this with me and I’ll pass them on to you.- they have restructured. Instead of there being a nominal ‘home-birth lead’ in each of the 6 zones (who was often caught up running clinics and unavailable for homebirths) there are 6, non-zoned, dedicated team members who will not be running clinics and performing non-homebirth related duties.-they are going to work long days (8am-8pm) and have got rid of the ‘c1’ shift which meant that no-one was really taking responsibility for homebirths between 4pm and 8pm.- there will always be 2, and often 3, of the team on call day or night. There will also be two community midwives on back-up call and a commitment that if you’ve booked a homebirth you should be able to have a homebirth and that staffing issues shouldn’t get in the way. Anyone ringing up delivery suite who is told to come in due to staffing issues should be firm and not get in to a big dialogue about it, just insist they send someone out.-they are trying to work out a new system for birth call-outs, ideally so that people don’t have to go through delivery suite. In the meantime they have moved to a pager system which will eliminate the possibility of people forgetting to turn their phones on (!!!) which was apparently an issue previously-they are going to raise the visibility of homebirths in the area and drive to raise the homebirth rate now that there’s a proper team in place. They are keen to listen to ideas on how to do this.-Angela felt that women should be able to book a homebirth at any time, even in early labour. Again she’s going to give me her details should anyone have a last minute change of mind and want to stay at home.I think that’s everything. It seemed very positive and she was quite evangelical about it. Fingers crossed.
Thanks for the update. I asked to be referred to the home birth team a few weeks ago and still haven’t heard anything. I’ve heard there have been some delays with the changes to the team . Do you have any more info?
Ok, here are the contact details you need to refer yourself to the homebirth team.
The teamleader is Francine Chang (incidentally she was my midwife and she’s lovely) and she’s on 07775812741.
Another team-member is is Angela and she is on 07824461673.
The team are great! My boyfriend and I went to meet them all on Friday as we’re planning to have a home birth when our first baby arrives next month. We expected to have to put up a bit of a fight to get a home birth, but it was offered as standard (as in \You’re low risk would you like a home birth?”) at our booking appointment at my GP’s surgery (London Fields Medical Centre on Broadway Market). Looks like the times they are a-changing….”
Thank you for this information. It’s very useful. I have checked out the website and will try to attend their next meeting to check it out so that I can recommend it to my pregnant clients. I am a Shiatsu massage practitioner specialising in Maternity care. Dilek
I had francine and Angela attend my home birth and felt extremely let down by them to be honest. Very little support, we were left alone for hours and when angela finally came (francine never made it back) i was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, gave birth on my back, legs in stirrups etcetc. Think about this option very seriously before you decide as I know another woman who had a similar experience just a few weeks before me and ended up having a ceasiarian.
Really sorry to hear about that msthing. I’d really encourage you to feed that back to Homerton. If you don’t feel you can do it directly to the home birth team then message me and I can tell you how to give feedback. It’s so important that they get the message when things aren’t going well. It isn’t a perfect service, though I haven’t ever experienced the situation you’ve had (not to diminish it but just to reassure that it doesn’t seem common as I’ve attended lots of home births with the team and also hear about them from fellow doulas and the Hackney home birth group). It is true however that booking with the team doesn’t guarantee you won’t need to be in hospital or have a caesarean (though statistically you are much less likely to need this if you start off at home). I’ve found the team keen to do all they can to make the hospital transition a smooth one and keep the hospital team on the same page – but that can be tricky. Again the more feedback they have on this the better.
I called francine today to feedback as I found her number above and she sounded sympathetic, said she’d call me later today to arrange a time to meet and discuss. But she hasn’t called back! She and Angela seem really nice and im sure they do care but the fact another woman had a similar experience to me with francine and angela just a few weeks before me and they then did the same thing again is not very encouraging. I went against family wishes having a home birth and they now feel justified in their concerns, birth can be dangerous and I would never rely on the home birth team again without at least a doula if not a private midwife to be there for me too.
I’m so sorry here about your experiences with Homerton, what a shame. I’m a reporter for the student website Hackney Post, would we be able to chat about what happened?
Hi Msthing, do persist with the team and if you want to chat about how to give feedback another way then do get in touch directly with me and I can talk you through the options. Rebeccalewis I do feel a bit uncomfortable about using this forum – which is designed for sharing stories, advice, experiences – to generate a press story – though others may feel it’s entirely appropriate. If you do run this or a similar story and want to talk to people with a range of experiences with the team then I can certainly put you in touch. I would encourage you to seek a positive experiences to balance the negatives. As someone who has personal and professional experience of the team on a large scale I feel quite strongly that it has been a huge improvement and while not in any way perfect, it would be a great shame for an unbalanced press piece to affect the public view of the team, homebirths in Hackney and the Homerton. NB: I am not affiliated in any way with the Homerton or the homebirth team
Hackneydoula – I didn’t mean to cause offence or distress I was merely interested as clearly this is something msthing. It would be up to msthing if she wanted to chat to me about her experiences.
An update! I met with the head of homerton midwives and she was very understanding and acknowledged and apologised for the number of mistakes that were made at my labour. She pointed out that the team is new and much has been learned in the last seven months. I’m sure things have improved and i did feel reassured but I would still strongly recommend a doula if you can afford it and would think seriously about whether a home birth for your first birth is definitely what you want considering the fact that a high number end up being transferred to hospital. Best of luck everyone and birth is magical whatever happens!