More cash to pay for home births

THE number of pregnant mothers in Weston wanting to have babies at home has almost doubled in the last two years. From 2004-5, Weston

THE number of pregnant mothers in Weston wanting to have babies at home has almost doubled in the last two years.From 2004-5, Weston Area Health Trust (WAHT) catered for 15 home births, but this rose to 27 during 2005-6, according to figures released by Weston General Hospital.Maternity bosses at WAHT say they will need more cash from North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) if demand increases following this week's Government announcement giving all mothers the right to choose where they would like to give birth.The Government says by 2009 every mum in the country should be able to choose from giving birth at home, in hospital or in a special midwife-led unit. WAHT divisional manager for children, young people and maternity services, Kath Roberts, said: "The community workforce is already very stretched so if we were to see an increase in demand for home births we would need more resources."More and more mothers are choosing to have babies at home because of the relaxing atmosphere created by familiar surroundings."But despite the significant growth in the number of people asking for home births in the Weston area, the PCT has not set aside any extra cash for Weston hospital, but instead will reallocate existing resources. Dali Sidebottom, who is responsible for commissioning maternity services at the PCT, said: "We will put our midwives where the demand is because any woman who wishes to have a home birth, providing it is medically appropriate, is entitled to one."The PCT will be undertaking a review in the autumn to see whether more money ought to be set aside for maternity services.

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