Hospital too stretched to care for twins

PREMATURE twins are receiving specialist care today more than 60 miles apart - because there is not enough room for them both at Ipswich Hospital.

PREMATURE twins are receiving specialist care today more than 60 miles apart - because there is not enough room for them both at Ipswich Hospital.

Their parents are having to split themselves between Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and Ipswich, after the latter admitted its facilities were too stretched to care for them both.

The couple, who do not wish to be named at this stage, are desperate to get their babies back together but now face a frustrating wait, with no date set, for a specialist cot to become free at Ipswich Hospital.

The hospital admitted it was under extreme pressure and is trying to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

It comes in the middle of a specialist review, which began in July, being carried out around the region's hospitals into the level of neonatal services on offer and their capacity to cope with demand.

The father of the twin boys, who were born 27 weeks premature, has to drive a near three hour round trip everyday to see his new family after the babies had to be delivered at Addenbrookes, rather than Ipswich, due to resources being overstretched at the time.

Most Read

One of the twins has now been sent back to Ipswich after a specialist cot became free, but the other baby is still in Addenbrookes until another becomes available at Ipswich.

Jan Rowsell, a spokeswoman for Ipswich hospital, which currently has 20 special neonatal cots said: “We are very proud of our neonatal unit but we have to work collaboratively with all the hospitals in the east of England to give every baby the best chance.

“We were obviously very busy when the mum was about to give birth. And because we knew we did not have two cots available the mum went to Addenbrookes.

“One of the babies came back to us Monday and we are talking to Addenbrookes on a daily basis to bring the other baby back.

“We are extremely busy and extremely full in the neo-natal unit at the minute. It is the same picture across the country. There is a rising birth rate. But we are doing everything we can to reunite the twins.”

An NHS East of England spokesperson said all maternity and neonatal units in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire area are being assessed against national professional standards, which haven't previously existed. She said this did not put Ipswich's unit under the threat of being downgraded.

The first stage of the Ipswich Hospital neonatal unit has now been completed and recommendations from the NSC Perinatal Network have been given to the hospital.

But capacity will not be considered until the review is fully completed in December.

n. Have you been in this situation? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk