A mother was taken on a 'nightmare' 230-mile round trip to FOUR different hospitals - before giving birth just 15 miles away from her home.
Helen Ramsey, 33, was turned away from three specialist baby care units before giving birth at her local hospital after a six-day-wait.
Helen's partner James Baird, 31, drove her to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, when her waters broke seven weeks early. But the couple were rejected from the hospital's special care baby unit - because there was no room.
Helen was taken by ambulance to Colchester General Hospital where she waited for two nights to be induced before being told there was no space there either - and she was moved again.
On arrival at Peterborough District Hospital, doctors said they could not induce Helen and three medics suggested she become an outpatient.
But the devastated mother-to-be faced a round trip of 140 miles from her home to Peterborough and suffered an emotional collapse at the news.
Finally, in desperation, her mother, Susan Ramsey, 57, a women's health nurse, called Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, Middlesex, who said they had facilities available.
Six days after her ordeal began Helen gave birth to baby Dylan, weighing 4lbs 5oz, at Chase Farm Hospital - just 15 miles away from her home in Hoddesdon, Herts.
Mother-of-two Helen, 33, criticised the hospitals for the ordeal she was put through which lead to an 'emotional breakdown'.
She said: 'If I was a first time mum it would have put me off having children for life, it was just heart-wrenching.
'We were so frustrated and depressed about the situation.
'Every time you go to a new hospital, you have to be reassessed and they all have different policies, plus you have to wait for all the transfer documents to go through.
'The whole time we were just desperate to find somewhere that I could actually give birth, we couldn't actually believe it when we finally found somewhere.
'It was an absolute nightmare and was so stressful for the whole family, we just kept wondering why we couldn't have a cot.
'I had an emotional breakdown at one point. I was in tears because I was so worried and my other son was at home and he needed his mummy.'
Dylan was taken to Chase Farm's special care baby unit within minutes of being born, as he had an erratic heartbeat during labour and was born with his umbilical cord around his neck.
Now both Helen and baby Dylan are doing well at home, where they are relaxing with brother Bradley, five.
Neil Wilson, Interim Chief Operating Officer, East of England Specialised Commissioning Group (SCG) told the Daily Mail that Helen's protracted journey was not typical.
'We cannot go into the detail of individual patient cases, but acknowledge that this patient's experience does appear to be outside of that experienced by most pregnant women when they show symptoms of early labour.
'In some instances, however, mothers do need to be transferred, but this will always be in the best interests of her and her baby and in close liaison with other maternity and neonatal staff at hospitals as close by as possible.'
Julie Juliff, Children's Commissioning Manager for NHS Hertfordshire said they would look into Helen's case.
'NHS Hertfordshire is responsible for ensuring that local women are able to choose where they give birth and that appropriate maternity services are in place to meet their needs.
'We are concerned to hear about Helen Ramsey's experience and will be investigating exactly what happened with each of the hospitals involved.'
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more