Letter: Danger of home births, even for the 'healthy'

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The Independent Online
I WAS disappointed to read the opinion piece written by Wendy Savage. The centre of childbirth is not the mother, it is the child itself. It is a conceit of feminism to say otherwise. A child gets one attempt at its own birth, and will have to live with any disaster that may happen for the rest of his or her life, however long, or tragically short, it may be. The mother can always try again.

Furthermore, the increase in litigation against the medical profession demonstrates that people expect the best possible care, especially in obstetrics, where a disability caused at birth often leads to litigation.

Ms Savage shows that she has no concept whatever of the nature of general practice. It is false to say that GPs are unwilling to do home deliveries because we are paid only pounds 35 per delivery. We are unwilling to do so because we are under- resourced for such an activity. If it is the Government's intention to encourage home deliveries, and thus require fewer obstetric beds, which saves money, it should say so. If it really believes that home deliveries are best, then it should provide the facility of a mobile obstetric team - obstetrician, midwife and paediatrician - at each delivery in case of the unexpected, which happens in about 10 per cent of deliveries.

Dr R M Cartmel

Peterborough

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