"Nuchal ultrasound scan"

About: John Radcliffe Hospital

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I have been disappointed with the antenatal services in Oxford so far. My GP and midwife have both been informed I have a needle phobia and that I will not be undergoing any blood tests in pregnancy. I also mentioned I didn't have a good experience of hospitals. Despite my explanation I have been referred for a Nuchal fold screening scan. When I turned up to have my scan, because it said in my letter that the Nuchal scan was done in combination with blood tests, I explained to the receptionist in the ultrasound department that I will not be having any blood tests during pregnancy because of needle phobia. She said that I will therefore only have a dating scan. When I questioned why could not the nuchal fold scan be done as well, she very abruptly said that if I don't have my bloods taken I will not be getting a nuchal fold scan either, as I cannot have one without the other. I felt this was communicated in a very unfriendly tone. Given that I was one of 3 patients in the waiting room, 2 of whom were sitting down, I didn't know where the hostile response was coming from. I wasn't explained why. What happened was not a very friendly or welcoming at all, it made me very distraught ahead of my scan. This was my initial impression of the ultrasound department! I wasn't happy at all about the way receptionist dealt with me. There were no other patients queuing to speak to her, she didn't need to be so rush, abrupt and unfriendly at all in my opinion. When it came to an ultrasound scan, it was difficult to see the baby, since my uterus was far at the back. The sonographer didn't seem to mind and only remarked that she cannot do the nuchal fold measurement anyway as the baby can't be seen very well. She said she cannot see a nasal bone either. When I had the same scan performed in a London, sonographer just asked if she could use a vaginal ultrasound instead to get a clearer picture. She even gave a comparison of the 2 pictures from external scan and internal scan, which was remarkably clearer and easier for the sonographer to work with. Without an internal scan it wouldn't have been possible to check nuchal fold and nasal bone. It wasn't a problem in London to only measure the nuchal fold without the blood test combined screening. I don't know why was it such a big problem in Oxford. All I can assume is that the screening criteria differs across the UK. If I was to mark my initial experience of Oxford maternity services to another London based hospital I have been to previously, I would give the Oxford service 1 mark out of 5 for how I have been treated and how I felt the screening has been performed. I don't know if mine was a typical level of maternity services, which women in Oxford receive on a regular basis, but I wouldn't go back if I had the choice. I am not impressed at all based on what I have experienced. I believe the staff could be better trained in terms of patient care and screening. Healthcare isn't just about the body.

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Response from John Radcliffe Hospital

Thank you for posting details of your recent experience with the Oxford Materniity Service. I was very sorry to read that your appointment for a Nuchal Scan was less than satisfactory and not what you could expect. We would be very happy to investigate the issues you have raised and provide you with a response to your concerns. If you would like us to do this, please do not hesitate to contact me, Deborah Dunn, Complaints Operational Manager on 01865 223257 or at complaints@ouh.nhs.uk and I will be happy to discuss the complaint process with you.

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