"Mixed experiences giving birth at Arrowe Park"

About: Arrowe Park Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I stayed at Arrowe Park for 3 nights during my induction for the birth of my son in the summer of 2008.

The induction ward was very quiet and clean. The midwives on that ward were very kind and efficient. I was not checked upon as frequently as I should have been but I felt safe as I could always call a midwife if needed.

After my 2 nights stay and 3 pessaries, on that ward I was taken down to labour ward and the induction was started. The care I recieved there was outstanding. I was uncomfortable in the first labour suite as there were no curtains, the sun was streaming in and the windows couldn't be opened so my first midwife moved us to another much more comfortable room.

I was petrified about the whole induction process and must have been a nightmare patient but the two midwives that dealt with me were extraordinary. My first midwives' shift ended a couple of hours into my labour and I got the choice of which midwife I wanted as I knew a few of them on shift from my antenatal care. My second midwife was fabulous and didn't leave my side until well after my son had been born safely.

I requested an epidural and the anaesthetist was clearly very talented and I received my epidural very swiftly. The third stage of my labour was managed so well that I didn't even realise it had occured! I was stitched up, cleaned up and had some visitors whilst still on labour ward then I was moved upstairs to the postnatal ward.

Unfortunately the postnatal ward care I received was appalling. My son had low blood sugar so was taken away each hour for heel pricks. This process was not explained and he was often taken without my consent. I wanted to breastfeed and was not helped to until I had been on the ward for over 6 hours. I was made to try and walk despite telling them that I still could not feel my legs and subsequently fell. When asked for help to go to the loo I was told that since I had had a normal delivery I had to get on with it since there were women on the ward that had had a much harder time than I had!

I requested to leave the next day but had to wait over 5 hours to be discharged as they were busy. I would say they must have been understaffed, but I saw midwives/carers stood around chatting at the front desk. A lady came into the ward to ask if anyone wanted their baby checked over - like it was optional! I was not checked over at all once my baby was born.

I was hounded by people trying to sell various things like photo-shoots at my bedside. The food was so bad and I left the hospital starving. It was very surprising to experience such different standards of care.

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Responses

Response from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

I am very pleased that Mrs E found the antenatal and labour ward staff so helpful.

I am however very concerned at the comments relating to the postnatal ward. This is clearly not acceptable and will be brought to the attention of the ward manager and matron. Please be assured that every step will be taken to rectify this situation.

I would like to thank Mrs E for her comments at what is clearly a busy time for her. I would be delighted if she would consider joining us as a service user to help us to continue to improve maternity services for patients on the Wirral.