Has Hayley Slater left EastEnders for good after giving her baby to Kat?

It looks like there's been a surprise exit from the cast

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EastEnders fans were left wondering if Hayley Slater has left the show permanently after a shock twist on Monday 11 February – is this the last we’ve seen of actress Katie Jarvis almost a year since she joined the cast as gobby cousin of Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) and the gang?

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Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner) went to hospital to collect her relative who had been undergoing treatment for her ongoing mental health and alcohol issues, exacerbated since the birth of her baby daughter Cherry late last year, only to be told by medical staff the troubled young mum had discharged herself and taken off.

Returning to the Slater house with Cherry in tow, deflated Stace broke the news to a disappointed Kat and showed her the note Hayley had left to pass on: “I ain’t going to do nothing stupid,” it began, “but I can’t do it, sorry. Maybe one day I’ll come back and look after Cherry… Give her a kiss and tell her mummy loves her.”

Kat had only visited her on Friday and after an emotional exchange thought she had got through to Hayley and convinced her she was good enough to be a mother to Cherry, and that she had the support of her feisty family after baby daddy Alfie Moon scarpered and left them in the lurch. Now Hayley has gone and even though doctors know where she is and will be able to keep an eye on her, she has refused to let her family know her whereabouts and does not want to be found.

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What will happen to Hayley’s baby now she’s gone?

Hayley has endured months of high becoming a mum, including a suicide attempt from the top of a block of flats, a booze binge that saw her pass out in the bathroom leaving her little girl unattended and her life in danger, having her nasty mum Bev attempt to sell her own grandchild for cash, and almost killing Alfie on Christmas Day after the truth about him being Cherry’s dad was revealed.

While Hayley has threatened many times to leave Walford, due to the volatile nature of the dynamics among the Slaters, she’s always come back eventually – but will that be the case this time? Or has Hayley finally decided she can’t cope with motherhood and shot through for good? Will she try and track down Alfie after he faked his death? Will Kat now adopt Cherry and bring her up as her own, cueing up another ‘You ain’t my muvvah!’ showdown in about 18 years’ time?

With so many questions still to be answered, and the door seemingly open, it seems like viewers should stay tuned as there could be more to be revealed about Hayley’s future on the show…

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