Isles of Scilly mum 'won't have more children' due to hospital accommodation fears

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A mother from the Isles of Scilly says she will not have any more children because of how difficult it is to find accommodation during any major hospital treatment.

Samaya Reid says for each of her children, health complications meant she or her family needed to stay near the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

A lack of accommodation options led to these emergency experiences being incredibly stressful as well as costing her young family thousands of pounds.

She said: "When you were unwell in hospital with an unwell baby, it's a stressful situation.

"I remember being on my phone frantically like scrolling through rental holiday rental websites, trying to find somewhere and being told like, oh, no, we're fully booked or we're closed for the season now."

The first issue came after her three year old son Orkney was treated for having seizures and after being flown to the mainland were discharged in the evening.

"You need to plan when you're going to be unwell and the time they decide to discharge you, because if it is in the evening and the boat's already gone and the flights are finished for the day you are stuck."

Samaya had a major bleed at 30 weeks pregant and had to fly by emergency helicopter to Truro with her son. Credit: Samaya Reid

Arriving by emergency helicopter means families from the islands also have no means of personal transport.

During her second pregnancy, Samaya was "really devastated" to be told at 30 weeks she couldn't travel home.

Fortunately, on this occasion her relatives had recently moved to Cornwall but they did not live in the county during her third pregnancy when Samaya and her daughter Dusky caught sepsis.

She says the experience has made her and her husband think "she will be our last child."

She added: "Having a child anyway is expensive. Everything has to go completely smoothly to be able to have a baby here and it didn't go to plan.

"You kind of need to have a backup bank account of savings of just in case."

Samaya and her husband Scott have spent thousands finding last minute emergency accommodation during mainland hospital visits. Credit: Samaya Reid

Anyone who lives or visits the isles of Scilly faces these problems if they need to be taken to the hospital for emergency care.

This is the reason why the charity Island Haven has drawn up a £1.5 million plan to build onsite accommodation at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Chair Tim Guthrie says this is "vitally important" not only for islanders but for people in remote parts of Cornwall and island visitors if they have any medical needs.

He said: "Obviously beds are at a premium in all hospitals and Treliske is no different. Very often you could be put in the middle of the night because the bed is required.

"If you live on Scilly, then that causes huge difficulties. We've had some really terrible stories of people having to spend the night in Truro Station because it was the only place they could find a roof over their heads."

The Island Haven wants to raise enough money to build nine bedroom accommodation block at the hospital site. Credit: Island Haven

Despite celebrity patrons like Alison Steadman OBE, Jude Law and Anneka Rice finding the money has been difficult over the past four years and funds are only around a quarter of the way to their ever-growing total of £1.5 million.

It's a charity locals throw their weight behind but the organisation says it needs people living off the islands to support.

The Island Haven says there are other successful campaigns to support families during hospital says in the southwest such as the Hearts Together charity in Plymouth.

The Lodge supports 7,500 people annually with a place to stay 10 minutes walk from Derriford Hospital when they or their loved ones undergo treatment.

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