Devastated couple blame NHS budget cuts for death of their baby boy after doctors refused to deliver him on the weekend
Scan revealed problem with blood supply between mother and unborn son
Couple say doctors told them they didn't induce babies on the weekend
16:00 GMT, 5 July 2012
A devastated couple have blamed massive NHS budget cuts for the death of their baby boy after doctors refused to deliver him during a weekend.
Cheryl Hurley of Eastwood, Essex was just days away from giving birth when a routine scan revealed a problem with the blood supply to her child from her placenta.
The 35-year-old and her partner Alex Stevens, 40, were stunned when medics told them they would have to wait four days until their son could be born.
Grieving: Cheryl Hurley and her partner Alex Stevens hold a picture of their stillborn son Hayden
NHS staff at Southend Hospital – which has to cut 130million from its books by 2014 – blamed a lack of staff equipment during weekends for the delay.
The couple pleaded for immediate action but were reassured the problem was not serious and were sent home where their baby died.
Miss Hurley then had to return to the hospital where she gave birth to her stillborn son, who she named Hayden.
Mr Stevens said: 'I think what has happened is as a direct result of the budget cuts and lack of funding.
'The NHS is supposed to be a 24-hour service. If they had delivered him during the weekend, I am sure that he would still be alive and here with us.
'We are both devastated and very angry about the way it was handled.'
Cheryl was due to give birth on Monday June 25 but the problem was discovered on the previous Thursday.
The couple had wanted Cheryl to be kept at the hospital after a scan revealed a problem with the blood supply to her child from her placenta
Hospital bosses have launched an internal investigation into what went wrong.
Alex added: 'We literally begged the doctors to keep Cheryl in during the weekend and deliver our baby but they flatly refused and sent her home.
'The consultants were telling us that they could not deliver him because of a lack of staff and equipment and they do not induce people during the weekend.
'They knew there was a problem yet they did nothing about it.'
Cheryl’s mother, Chris Nice, 61, was
with the couple as they went through the heartbreaking experience of
giving birth to a stillborn baby.
She said: 'It really is a terrible thing to happen. Hayden was absolutely beautiful when he was born.'
of jobs are set to be lost at the hospital as efforts are made to cut
19million from the wage bill over a four-year period.
Sue Hardy, Southend Hospital’s director of nursing, said: 'We are extremely sorry to hear of the sad loss of Cheryl and Alex’s baby.
'We would welcome the chance to meet with the parents to explain to them the form the investigation will take.'
She said she could not comment any further until the investigation had been completed.