"Neonatal transfers when there are bed shortages"

About: Northampton General Hospital (Acute)

(as the patient),

My daughter who is now 34 weeks pregnant wih twins with her first prgnancy has gone into early labour 3 times. Not unusual but three times she has been transfered out of Northampton by ambulance twice to milton keynes and this last time to Walsall.I cannot fault the care both my daughter and partner have received in these hospitals. My moan is that on discharge from these hospitals she has been expected to make her own way home. Her partner doesn't drive she has been told not to drive and is supposed to do as little as possible. It has been left to the family to arrange a lift home. Milton Keynes is only half an hour each way but Walsall is an hour and a half on a good day and thats if you know where you going and the M6 is open all the way!It took me a lot longer.I must admit I'm still shell shocked by this whole situation.

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Response from Northampton General Hospital

It is always a great concern to us when we have to transfer a mother from Northampton General hospital to another unit but the safest place to have a premature baby is one which has all the neonatal support required. This means Doctors and Nurses to staff the area and a cot free for the baby.

The nature of obstetric care is very unpredictable, and often we may have several mothers giving birth early at the same time. Sometimes we may have staff but no cots and sometimes we may have reduced staffing due to unforseen circumstances, therefore it would be unsafe.

The best possible course of action is taken for the safety of the babies which is always our priority. In such cases the safest option is to transfer the mother to a unit which has both cots and staff should the babies be born.

If this happens we transfer the mother in an ambulance. Once she has been discharged then she is fit to go home from that particular hospital and following this it is normal practice to arrange transport herself. Unfortunately there are no finances available to assist.

I am sorry about this unfortunate situation and we do understand and appreciate how upsetting this is. May I assure you that the safety of our patients is our first priority at all times.

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