'Call the midwife' to launch Royal London Hospital's home birth kit
PUBLISHED: 20:51 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 21:51 04 March 2019
TV's Call The Midwives drama series has returned to its East End roots with its screen stars meeting a real life midwife at The Royal London Hospital.
Linda Bassett and Leonie Elliott, who played Nurse Phyllis Crane and Nurse Lucille Anderson in the series, met real life midwife Ali Herron to launch the trial run of a new nationwide standardised ‘home delivery’ bag for community midwives.
“It’s important we support our midwives,” Ali said. “Our home birth team has already helped 37 women give birth at home in just one year.”
Ali is the midwifery director at the Royal London, part of Barts NHS trust that runs the hospital and the Barkantine birth centre in Millwall—where the 1950s midwife drama is set—one of six trusts trying out out the kit next month.
It follows a national survey by the Baby Lifeline mother-and-baby charity which has found a lack of standard equipment carried by midwives for home births. Four-in-10 midwives in the survey felt the items they carried didn’t meet all their needs.
The charity has developed a rucksack-style bag with adjustable straps and optional wheels, which has been compartmentalised and colour coded to make it easier to reach the right equipment quickly. The rucksack includes everything from scissors to cut the umbilical cord to towels to dry and warm the newborn, as well as equipment for any emergencies.
More women than ever are opting to have their babies delivered by midwives at home rather than hospital since Tower Hamlets home birth service was launched more than a year ago.
The midwife team has helped 37 new mums so far, compared with just 22 in 2017.
A drop-in session for expectant mums to meet midwives as part of a campaign for more home births is held at Mile End children’s centre on the last Monday of every month, 1-4pm.