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Home Births

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what targets the Government have set for home deliveries in (a) rural and (b) urban settings over the next five years; (126163)

(2) what plans she has to provide further support for those mothers who wish their babies to be delivered at home.

We cannot set targets for home births. It is for local primary care trusts and national health service trusts to determine the appropriate pattern of service provision locally, taking into account the choice and needs of local people.

The Government are committed to offering, by 2009, all women the choice of how and where they give birth, for example a birth at home, a birth supported by a midwife or a birth supported by a team of clinicians including a midwife and an obstetrician. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is preparing guidelines on intrapartum care, due to be published in June 2007, which will include guidance on home births.

We will shortly be publishing a document on the delivery of the maternity commitments made in the manifesto and in “Our Health, Our Care, Our Say”, which, when published, will focus on providing continuing support and safe maternity services for all women.