Woman in labour was forced to travel 40 miles to give birth after THREE NHS hospitals turned her away ‘because they did not have enough midwives’
- Barbara Job, 25, from Peterborough, had to travel to a hospital in Leicester
- Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Rosie hospitals all rejected her
- She was in ‘incredible pain’ as her husband drove her to Leicester Royal Infirmary
A woman in labour had to travel 40 miles to give birth after being turned away from three hospitals because they did not have enough midwives.
Barbara Job, 25, from Peterborough, had to make the hour-long journey to Leicester on Sunday.
Her birthing plans specified Peterborough City Hospital and she rang the unit there after her waters broke, her mother-in-law Rica Scott said.
But she and her husband William were told there were not enough staff to ensure a safe delivery and they should look elsewhere.
The pair were met with the same response at Huntingdon’s Hinchingbrooke Hospital and the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge.
Leicester Royal Infirmary finally accepted Mrs Job and the couple had to drive to the hospital while she was in ‘incredible pain’, Ms Scott said. She gave birth to a healthy boy there yesterday.
Barbara Job (pictured with her husband William), 25, from Peterborough was forced to travel 40 miles to give birth after she was turned away from three hospitals because they did not have enough midwives
Her birthing plans specified Peterborough City Hospital and she rang the unit there after her waters broke but was told there were not enough staff to ensure a safe delivery and they should look elsewhere
By Shaun Wooller and Victoria Allen for the Daily Mail
Midwife numbers are reaching a dangerous level which could put lives at risk, as records show more staff leaving than joining the profession for the first time in a decade.
As a record number suffer burnout and leave, the figures from NHS Digital for 2021/22 show almost 300 more staff abandoned midwifery than joined the service, with 3,440 leaving and only 3,144 coming in.
Analysis of the data showed a record 551 resigned in 2021 because of a lack of work-life balance.
The latest figures for May show pregnant women have the equivalent of 21,685 full-time midwives in England – down 551 on 12 months previously.
Midwives working in NHS trust maternity units typically work 12-hour shifts, but many work longer for no additional pay to cover staff shortages and to keep services running.
Mrs Job’s saga is a consequence of the midwife staffing crisis currently plaguing the NHS.
Nearly 300 more staff left the health service than joined it last year, latest NHS statistics show.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says members are ‘at the end of their tether’ and ‘physically and emotionally burnt out’.
Ms Scott told the BBC: ‘They had to face a very long drive for well over an hour with her in incredible pain to get to Leicester hospital where she was admitted.
‘I found it very upsetting because it made me feel very spoiled.
‘When I had my children you got so much attention back then, whereas now you’re having to fight.
‘I hope other mothers don’t go through this — and this is why Barbara and William wanted me to speak out.’
Mrs Job experienced a protracted labour, when childbirth takes longer than normal because of slow cervical dilation.
Staff at the Leicester Royal Infirmary wanted her to return to Peterborough, where she had planned to give birth.
But when she rang her local hospital, they told her to ‘stay where you are’, Ms Scott said.
Ms Job had to ring up the manager at Peterborough City Hospital in front of Leicester Royal Infirmary staff.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System, which represents all of Cambridgeshire’s NHS providers, said: ‘The safety of the parents and babies using our maternity units is an absolute priority.
‘Whilst we appreciate the sensitivity of the moment, at times it may be necessary to ask mothers to use alternative maternity units if another unit has reached its current capacity.
‘All patients are risk-assessed before they are transferred to an alternative location.
‘Anyone with urgent questions about their pregnancy, please contact your local maternity team, who can provide support.’
More than half of England’s maternity units have received negative ratings for safety, according to the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports.
Regulators rated 80 out of 193 NHS maternity services as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ in their latest inspections.
The low grades mean they do not meet basic safety standards, with some still failing years after problems were first identified.
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