"Lovely building, midwives overworked, terrible..."

About: North Middlesex Hospital

The new maternity centre at North Middlesex is great. However, our experience of maternity services has been pretty disappointing overall. As other reviewers have mentioned, it is impossible to get through to anyone on the phone, which can be incredibly frustrating if you need to change an appointment or find out any additional information. There is one receptionist in particular who is extremely unpleasant to deal with - we have to steel ourselves every time we realise she's on the desk! She is rude and unhelpful and makes the experience stressful if anything is at all un-straightforward (e.g. if there are no appointments available on the day specified by the midwife). We were referred to a consultant on two occasions, but seen by a registrar both times, who each time said we should have had an appointment with the consultant herself as they were unsure what advice to give us(!). The midwives themselves are friendly, but seem very overworked. Last time I was referred again to the consultant - not for any medical reason but because there are no midwife appointments available in three weeks' time. I asked (given that we already know we will need appointments at week 38 and 40) whether we could book appointments in advance, but this is not possible. This feels a little stressful as it feels unlikely I'll be able to see a midwife on the relevant weeks given that appointments are filled so far in advance. I suppose we just have to hope there are appointments available with a consultant(?). I was also told to book a 31 week appointment with my GP, but my GP does not provide antenatal checks at 31 weeks so refused to see me. I couldn't get hold of anyone at North Mid to get this resolved, so ended up simply missing out on a 31 week appointment. I was also not offered a 28 week appointment, just a blood test, despite the maternity notes saying that at 28 weeks you should be measured, BP and urine checked, etc. The midwife didn't explain why the 28 week appointment was unnecessary, and we were left feeling slightly nervous about such a long gap between appointments at week 25 and week 34 (it's our first pregnancy). I understand that services are under huge strain at the moment, but it seems like some small adjustments could make a big difference to the 'patient experience', namely: a different receptionist(!), someone to answer the telephone, allowing appointments to be booked in advance, ensuring that everyone receives an appointment in the weeks specified on the back of our maternity notes, and better link-ups between different teams, including consultants, midwives, GP surgeries, antenatal classes, etc. Anyway, given that maternity services are notoriously poor in North East London, I'd still probably recommend North Middlesex and so long as the teams involved with delivery are friendly and helpful, that's the most important thing! Sorry to leave such a long review - incidentally, the sonogrophers and triage were both great!

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Response from North Middlesex Hospital

Sorry to hear about your experiences, please do email me so that I can ensure your appointments are booked for you and discuss fully your experience in ANC. I am the head of midwifery, meredith.deane@nsh.net and take very seriously the issues you have raised. Look forward to hearing from you.

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