Home birth service closed as report claims midwives put babies at risk

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A pioneering home birth service has been axed amid concerns it had 10 times the normal rate of babies born with serious complications such as brain damage.

The Albany practice, an independent group in South London previously described as a "gold standard" for the midwifery sector, had its contract with the NHS terminated after an inquiry into alleged poor practice over 30 months.

The move has prompted a campaign by the group's supporters, who ... claim the service was terminated because NHS managers preferred hospital births. Under the Albany group, all women have their babies delivered by the first midwife they see during their pregnancy, with almost half giving birth at home.

... a spokesman for King's College Hospital, which commissioned the report ... defended the decision.

... "While the report reinforced our view of the excellent relationships formed between Albany midwives and their expectant mothers, it also highlighted serious shortcomings in terms of non-compliance with [hospital] trust policies and risk management procedures, particularly during labour and with newborn babies."

The report revealed that the hospital identified 11 cases where brain damage was caused by a lack of oxygen and blood to the brain ... It concluded that "risk factors for a poor outcome in pregnancy were being overlooked by Albany midwives".

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448