New mum tells of her grueling hospital stay

DESPITE her newborn daughter's dislocated hip, Lismore's Jasmine Allen decided to return home after only one night because of cramped, noisy conditions in the Lismore Base Hospital's temporary maternity ward.

After the roof collapsed on the ward in the Women's Care Unit in December, new mums and newborns had been restricted to 16 beds in an old section of the unit, known as A4.

The roof collapse resulted in the loss of 10 beds.

On Thursday a NSW Health Infrastructure spokeswoman confirmed the ward, known as the "pod" by staff, might not be repaired.

Mothers have reported waiting in the birthing suite for hours, even overnight, because of a lack of beds.

After the straight-forward birth of 3.05kg Evelyn on Wednesday night, 27-year-old Jasmine Allen shared a room with two other women.

"I didn't get any sleep the whole time so I just had to go home," she said.

"If I had been in my own room I would have stayed longer.

"(The) night was a nightmare. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to be holding her to feed her given she was in a hip brace.

"I was sharing a shower with everyone else from the ward. I had one woman come in to use the toilet while I was in the shower.

"For me it was just an inconvenience, but it would be harder for first-time mums. What about the other women with hysterectomies and miscarriages sharing that ward?

"I've got a big family. There was no way they could fit behind a curtain.

"Both of the other women in my room were first-time mums but they wanted to get home as soon as possible."

NSW Health Infrastructure said there would be an inquiry into the roof collapse.

A NSW Health District spokeswoman said if the pod couldn't be repaired, the local health district would have temporary arrangements in place to deliver the required services until the new maternity ward was completed in late 2017.

She said this might include encouraging women who had normal births to return home only four hours after giving birth, part of the hospital's domiciliary midwife program.

Other measures might involve relocating mums and babies to Casino or other hospital wards.

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