Home birth group to protest outside CUH this weekend

A group opposed to proposals to limit home births to people living within 30 minutes of a maternity hospital say choice in maternity care is crucial.

Families and support agencies will protest outside Cork University Maternity Hospital on Sunday at 12:30 to highlight the issue.

The group say up to 80% of applicants in some areas would not be able to avail of the service if the HSE changes the rules and says the issue is of real importance to families in Cork and Kerry as the region accounts for close to 40% of home births nationally.

Protestors claim any change could result in women having to travel long distances in active labour and say the recommendation is not evidence based or in line with international best practise.

Speaking to RedFM News, protest organiser Kara Spratt says safeguards are already in place for women who want to have a home birth:

“When an application is made for the home by service, a rigorous risk assessment takes place, and the midwife will take into account the distance that she is from the birthing family, the distance that the family is from the maternity unit, and decisions are made based on this. There’s also further clinical oversight then by a designation consultant in the hospital. If there’s a very robust risk assessment involved in home birth. It’s a low risk population that can access the service.”

In a statement to RedFM News, the HSE says it recognises that home birth is an important pathway for women and their objective is to ensure the continuity of the service and the safety of mothers and their babies.

It also says the recommendation that women accessing the service would live within 30 minutes blue-light distance from their nearest maternity service is to ensure the best possible chance of getting to a maternity hospital to ensure the best outcome for mother and baby.


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