A HEAVILY pregnant mum was forced to travel 40 miles just hours before giving birth as there were “no beds available” at Basildon hospital.

Charlotte Chaplin, 25, was sent to Colchester hospital while in labour with her daughter on Friday morning.

Despite being sent away, the first time mum, who had Hodgkins lymphoma when she was 15, had previously been told she would be under the hospital’s close eye to avoid complications.

When she asked for an ambulance, she claims she was told if she phoned for one she would have to pay for it.

Charlotte said: “I called Basildon Hospital at around 6am and they told me to call back when my contractions were every three to five minutes.

“I called back at around 9am and they told me there were not any more beds and they weren’t taking on any more patients.

“They said they would see if Southend Hospital or Darent Valley had any beds but they didn’t. We were back and fourth on the phone. It was a nightmare.

“They then said they could get me a place at Colchester hospital.

“I asked if they could get me an ambulance and they said they couldn’t because it wasn’t an emergency and they would charge me if I called one.

“The lady I see at Basildon hospital told me not to deliver at home.

“It took us over an hour and a half to get there.”

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After the traumatic start to her labour, Charlotte gave birth to her daughter, Koby-Rose Chaplin, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Charlotte’s dad, Terry Keenan, slammed the hospital for “putting my daughter and granddaughter at risk”.

He said: “It was just madness from start to finish. I don’t want this to happen to any other families. I think it’s disgusting.”

A spokesperson for Mid and South Essex NHS Trust, said: “We always try to care for pregnant mothers in their hospital of choice, but if one of our maternity units is already full there may be occasions where the mother is clinically assessed and then asked to travel to a nearby hospital to make sure they receive the safest and best care.

“We would welcome Charlotte and her family getting in touch so we can look into any concerns they may have.”