North London Partners in health and care

NCL Home birthing service – limited reinstatement


At the end of March, hospitals across North Central London, including University College London Hospital, Royal Free London, Whittington Health and North Middlesex University Hospital, temporarily suspended home births service to ensure that women and their babies have the safest birth possible during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition Royal Free London temporarily suspended maternity services at Edgware Birth Centre.

This difficult decision was taken based upon staffing levels across NCL’s maternity services. The impact of the pandemic on maternity staffing levels was significant, with each maternity unit reporting a considerable reduction in staffing numbers, not only midwifery staff, but also maternity support workers. We suspended home birth services to ensure that we could continue to provide a safe maternity service to all women and their families and in order to maximise midwifery provision. We have reviewed this decision at each site on a weekly basis since the end of March.

Following assessment against the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Royal College of Midwives (RCM) guidance for provision of midwife-led settings and home birth in the evolving coronavirus pandemic, based upon key criteria, including staffing levels, we have agreed that we can reinstate a restricted home birthing service at the following sites:

  • North Middlesex University Hospital – a restricted homebirth service to recommence from Thursday 7 May. This will be offered to those women previously booked for homebirth. Other bookings will be on a case by case basis.
  • Whittington Health – a restricted homebirth service to recommence from Thursday 7 May. This will be offered to those women previously booked for homebirth. Other bookings will be on a case by case basis.
  • Barnet Hospital – a restricted homebirth service to recommence at some point during week commencing Thursday 7 May. This will be offered to those women previously booked for homebirth. Other bookings will be on a case by case basis.

Midwifery-led care during labour and birth remains available in co-located birth centres at the following sites:

  • University College Hospital London
  • Royal Free Hospital
  • Barnet Hospital
  • Whittington Hospital
  • North Middlesex University Hospital

 Maternity Services at Edgware Birth Centre (EBC) remain suspended.