Norwich couple angry after mad baby dash

A couple are demanding an apology from the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital after a breakdown in communications meant they had to endure a panic-stricken journey to Bury St Edmunds for the birth of their first child.

When Emma Carter, 23, woke her partner Jamie Miller, 21, at 6.50am to tell him her contractions had started, he immediately rang the N&N and was reassured when he was told to wait until they were three or four minutes apart before setting out on the two-mile journey from their home.

However, when he rang back two hours later, he was told the hospital's maternity department was full and they would have to travel all the way to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn because the nearest alternative, the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, also had no beds.

Mr Miller, of Tower Close, Costessey, said: 'We were not happy but got our stuff together and were just getting into the car of Emma's sister, Anne, who was driving us, when the hospital rang back and told us the Queen Elizabeth was full as well – and we would have to drive to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. You can imagine the panic – being faced with a 70- minute journey in those circumstances.'

Their drama heightened when they discovered hospital staff had given them the wrong postcode for their sat-nav – and they found themselves outside a private hospital in Bury.

Mr Miller, who works for a mobile phone repairers, said: 'We finally arrived at 10.45am by which time Emma was in a terrible state, in pain and being sick.'

Baby Reuben arrived just over an hour later weighing 7lb 5oz.

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Miss Carter, a shop assistant in Norwich, said: 'I could easily have ended up having him in the back of my sister's Ford Focus and that would not have been very nice for her. By the end of it all I was totally exhausted.'

Nearly two weeks after the ordeal on November 21, the couple are looking forward to the first Christmas with their child.

However, Mr Miller said they were still waiting for a hospital apology and were considering making a formal complaint to the Norfolk & Norwich.

Jan Edwards, delivery suite manager at the N&N, said they were very sorry that Miss Carter could not be accommodated as they were dealing with emergency patients who needed intensive help.

'In this situation, we had to ensure the safe care of patients on the unit and we closed for four hours,' she said. 'Miss Carter was assessed by telephone and, based on the information given, she was directed to the nearest service which could provide her care which was the West Suffolk Hospital.'