The actress wants to spend more time with her premature baby Bertie

Patsy Palmer is leaving EastEnders to spend time with her new baby Bertie.

The little boy, who was born seven weeks early on 8 December, spent his first Christmas in the special care unit at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Patsy, who plays Bianca Butcher in the soap, now wants to concentrate solely on her son, who was allowed home on 29 December.

‘I’ve just finished my contract with EastEnders and I’ve decided I don’t want to be tied to anything,’ she explains.

‘I just want to spend as much time as I can with Bertie and enjoy every minute with him.’

This is not the first time Patsy has left the show. She also quit the soap in 1999 before giving birth to her second son, Fenton, in 2000 – and she is not ruling out a return.

‘We’ll see if and when they want me back and then I will consider it,’ she says.

‘Right now my family is the most important part of my life.’

Patsy‘s announcement comes swiftly after the soap’s controversial baby-swap plotline hit newspaper headlines. The actress admits she found the story harrowing.

‘We all cried when we watched it,’ she tells Hello!

‘It affected me too, especially after having Bertie, so I can imagine how other mums must have felt.’

Patsy, 38, who is married to cabbie Richard Merkell, is also mum to Emilia, 9, Fenton, 10 and Charley, 18, from a previous relationship.

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