Hospital Trust Policies

If you are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, and want to know as much as possible about your likely treatment (a very sensible plan) then it’s a pretty simple process to find out the local hospital trust policies by submitting a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. For more information on How To Submit An FOI Request for hospital trust policies, I’ve written a guide.

I initially intended to submit (FOI) requests to all NHS trusts in the UK and post all the documents here, for everyone to access. While this seemed like a great idea at the time, it soon proved to be a crazy one! Firstly because there are dozens, if not hundreds, of NHS Trusts, and secondly because the policies get updated regularly!! This turned out to be too much admin, but I have published here the ones I obtained before sanity prevailed.

I do still want to publish as many as possible, and these are getting a little out of date, so please, if you get copies of your local policies, contact me via the form on http://bigbirthas.co.uk/about-big-birtha/contact-big-birtha/ to let me know. I’ll give you the email address to send them to, and then I’ll add them/update them here for the benefit of everyone.

Stack of Files - Hospital Trust Policies

Individual Hospital Trust Policies (A-Z)

Policies are listed alphabetically by the name of the Trust, with the hospitals covered by that Trust (in brackets) after the Trust name, and the date when I received the policy below that. When you submit your policy to me, let me know if you want the credit, and I’ll include that too!

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust (Airedale General Hospital, Keighley)

(Feb 2013)
Full marks to Airedale for a sensitively worded policy which is sensible, respectful, realistic and supportive of bigger women.

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust (Barnet Hospital, Barnet, Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield)

(Feb 2013)

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Barnsley District General Hospital, Barnsley)

(Feb 2013)

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust (Bedford Hospital, Bedford)

(Feb 2013)
Interestingly, their policy applies to women with a BMI of 30 or more, or who weigh 100kg or more.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Rosie Hospital, Cambridge)

(Feb 2013)
All in all, it’s one of the better policies I’ve read.

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Countess of Chester, Chester)

(Feb 2013)
A very BMI focused policy. However, after returning for more information about pool use, I’ve been told that access is on a case-by-case basis, so it sounds as though you can argue your corner if you would like to use a pool in their facility.

The Countess of Chester (whoops! Nearly typed that without the ‘o’!!) are sadly under the misapprehension that BMI ‘must be under 35 for home delivery’, which is absolutely not the case. Choosing to birth at home is every woman’s right, protected in law. They can say that they don’t advise a home birth, or that they will not ‘approve’ one, but they can’t prevent you from having one.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham, Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull Hospital, Solihull)

(Feb 2013)
Its intentions seem good. The trouble is, I can’t find much evidence of the care being individualised, BMI seems to rule over all considerations. But, looking at the positives, BMI is not mentioned as a specific exclusion in the waterbirth policy.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust ( Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, Royal Preston Hospital)

(Feb 2018)

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Leeds General Infirmary, St James’ University Hospital, Leeds)

(Feb 2013)
While the content of this guidance is fairly standard, the wording suggests attitudes which are judgemental and stigmatizing. After suggesting the “Obese Pregnant Woman” is a thing to be “managed”, and using language which is divisive and confrontational, I’m concerned that the treatment people with a high BMI receive reflects these attitudes.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Leighton Hospital, Crewe)

(Feb 2013)

Mid Essex Hospitals Trust (Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford)

(Feb 2013)
relating to home births or births in midwife led units – all decisions are risk based according to each individual woman and her particular health, not because of a line on a chart.” which is music to my ears…

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust (Northampton General Hospital)

(Feb 2013)

Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, Essex) (Feb 2013)

University Hospitals Bristol (Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol)

(Feb 2013)

Bristol Royal Infirmary’s policies and procedures seem fairly standard ‘judge a woman by her BMI and not a lot else’ fodder. But the language used is at least considered – ‘offer glucose tolerance test‘, ‘consider dietician referral’ etc. which is better than some.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Lancaster; Furness General Hospital, Barrow-in-Furness; Westmorland General Hospital, Kendal)

(Feb 2013)

Western Health & Social Care Trust (Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Londonderry; South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen; Tyrone County Hospital, Omagh)

(Feb 2013)

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, Kidderminster Hospital, Worcestershire Royal Hospital)

(Feb 2013)

Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Arrowe Park Hospital)

(Feb 2013)

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (York Hospital, Scarborough General Hospital, Bridlington and District Hospital)

(Feb 2013)

If you don’t see the hospital trust policies you’re looking for here, please do submit your own Freedom of Information Request. While it might seem like a bit of unnecessary admin you could do without, it can be really helpful to know where potential sticking points with your caregivers might arise ahead of time.

Don’t forget to contact me via the form on http://bigbirthas.co.uk/about-big-birtha/contact-big-birtha/ once you’ve got your hospital trust policies, and let me know your thoughts and feedback on the wording!

In conclusion, if everyone who follows my How To Guide did this, we’ll have all of the UKs hospital trust policies on BMI and pregnancy published as a single resource in no time! Aside from being useful to anyone who is pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, I think our comments and criticisms could be helpful guidance for any trust writing or rewriting such a policy, which would benefit us all…