AN ISLAND mother is to lodge a complaint after a mainland hospital discharged her and her newborn baby in the middle of the night.
With no ferry home to Mull until the morning, Stacey Inglis and daughter Eilidh took refuge in a bed and breakfast after Oban hospital refused to put them up overnight.
When Ms Inglis, 29, from Tobermory, experienced complications with the birth of her second child, on 5 June, a helicopter was called in case she had to be airlifted to another hospital. But two and a half hours after delivering a healthy 9lb 6oz baby she was discharged from Oban’s Lorn and Islands District General Hospital, at half past midnight – although the next ferry was not until 7:45am. Ms Inglis said: “Basically, I had a bath, they checked the baby out and they said you are ready to go. I asked why we couldn’t stay and one of the midwives said they didn’t have the beds. It was a bit like Mary and Joseph, there was no room at the inn.”
Ms Inglis had become concerned earlier that night when another midwife told her about the discharge procedure.
She said: “I was in the birthing pool and the midwife asked me how I was going to feed the baby. I said, I am going to breastfeed in hospital and then bottle feed and she said, ‘You won’t be in hospital long, there is a six-hour window where you need to be discharged from the hospital after the labour.’
“That was never explained to us before that. When they told me that, in the birthing pool, I was really stressed. Throughout the labour, I thought what are we going to do, where are we going to go?”
Ms Inglis’s partner, Michael Wright, 29, had rushed from the couple’s home to be with her.
Ms Inglis explained: “There was a bit of a complication and they planned to airlift me to Paisley, they had taken me out of the birthing pool because of the complications, but I had the baby ten minutes before the helicopter arrived. My partner had rushed over to Oban on the last ferry.
“I explained we didn’t have a car seat, or bed, for the baby.”
Midwife services were withdrawn from Mull two years ago and Ms Inglis said island mothers-to-be are now told to book into a B&B for the fortnight prior to their due date and claim the cost back from the NHS.
Ms Inglis managed to find a room, with her baby and her partner, in the B&B she had stayed in before the birth.
She said: “We are putting in a complaint because we think there should be something done to help other island mothers. What if you are a single mum with no partner? If my partner hadn’t managed to get over on the last ferry I couldn’t have coped, I would have been out of the hospital just after midnight with the baby and all my bags.”
Councillor Mary-Jean Devon, from Tobermory, who is backing Ms Inglis in her complaint, said: “It really worries me that they are taking services off the island, they are giving us all these assurances that it will be better, but it is not.”
Derek Leslie, NHS Highland’s director of operations, Argyll and Bute Community Health Partnership, said: “We are disappointed and concerned when patients feel the treatment and services provided have fallen short of the standards they are entitled to expect and would encourage the patient concerned to contact us so we can properly examine and establish the circumstances and her concerns.”