"Transferring care as soon as possible"

About: St Mary's Hospital (London)

I'm currently 22 weeks and have persevered with St Mary's as I read the excellent reviews of the birth centre and thought I would like to have my first child there. However, the antenatal care I have found to be unprofessional and have only attended one appointment (dating scan) where I have not had to wait at least 30mins - more often up to an hour - without so much as a 'sorry' or explanation of the delay. I left my booking appointment in tears with no understanding of what the process was to be or what to do next as I had the misfortune of being the first appointment on the first day of a new computer system going live which apparently meant I had to have 4 people in my appointment who were more interested in the computer and telling me that all their leave had been cancelled due to this change. The receptionist could not book my dating scan due to the new system and was rude and unhelpful when I asked him what I should do. The midwife then did not give me my notes (or explain I was supposed to take them) so I received a message asking me to collect them. When I went back they were nowhere to be found so I eventually received them at my 18 week midwife's appointment. As it is - the info contained within my booking 'notes' is laughable - lots of blank pages of no use to anyone I would've thought. My second midwife's appointment despite arriving 5mins early - I was made to wait an hour for. This was as I later discovered due to the fact that they had apparently called my name 4 times before i'd arrived but no-one bothered to call me at the actual time of the appointment. As a result of my perceived 'lateness' the midwife chose to see 2 other patients before me. However, on a more positive note she found my notes and did pick up a complication that should have been acted upon at my booking appointment relating to the possibility of early labour and arranged care for that - 6 weeks behind when this should have been carried out. Since then i've attended 3 more appointments all with extremely long and unexplained waiting times. In my most recent appointment with fetal medicine I waited an hour and despite handing in my notes on arrival (5 mins before my appointment time) when I was seen an hour later the doctor had not looked at them and appeared to not be sure of why I was there so I had to explain again. I appreciate this is a female doctor however there was little dignity afforded for dressing/undressing due to the lack of screen making it a somewhat uncomfortable experience. I am sympathetic to the staff trying to cope with a lot of changes but cannot face going back to St Mary's so have requested a transfer of care. However, I would like to point out the one bright spot in my experience was the young woman who did my dating scan. She was helpful, friendly and very entertaining during the scan. As this was my second visit to the hospital she did give me hope of a more professional service but sadly it failed to materialise further.

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Response from St Mary's Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is very concerned and dissappointment to read of your experience in the antenatal clinic at St Mary's and we sincerely apologise for the unsatisfactory service you have reported. You raise significant issues and these have been passed to the Head of Midwifery. It would be important for the Trust to be able to investigate fully the concerns you have reported and to facilitate this we hope you will contact our PALS service pals@imperial.nhs.uk

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