"Midwives are clearly stretched"

About: Blackpool Victoria Hospital

I went in to the maternity ward to be induced which unfortunately failed and resulted in a C Section. From the moment I went in, it was clear the staff were pushed beyond belief looking after too many patients, all with different needs. Despite this however, the midwives were always patient and fantastic with me, treating me with respect and never griped. There were times unfortunately I had to wait up to 30 minutes for some paracetamol however this was purely down to resource again. However, once I had left theatre and put back on to a mixed ward, the aftercare reduced. I never seemed to see the same midwife more than once and there was rarely anyone around which when having a C Section, I really needed. I felt almost left to it including in the evening when my husband was made to go home and I had to fend for myself which included buzzing a midwife every time my baby cried and needed passing to me as I was unable to get her myself due to the surgery, and had to wait for up to 10 minutes at a time. It is clear the staff were stretched as I often only saw 1 or 2 midwives at night, looking after a lb entire ward of mixed patients from mums with babies, people going in to labour and people like me who had just come out of serious surgery and were somewhat imobile. I do not believe that people being induced should be on a ward with people already having had their babies as their needs are clearly different. Also, although I appreciate that partners cannot stay and rules are rules, discretion should be used in situations such as mine when I was unable to even hold my baby and had to rely on staff of which were too stretched to assist me which resulted in my daughter becoming extremley distressed. It didn't make sense that my husband who was both willing and capable to help me, was sent home and I was left to be cared by people that through no fault of their own, didn't unfortunately have the time to. Overall, I cannot fault the midwives or staff as the cuts are out of their control and they were doing the best they could but I think common sense needs to be used when managing a ward of mixed patients and by doing so, I believe the care and in particular the post delivery after care would be better.

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Response from Simone Anderton, Deputy Director of Nursing, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Simone Anderton

I am sorry to hear about the delays in treatment and support you experienced on our maternity unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I have passed your comments onto the Midwifery Matron to get a more detailed explanation of the issues you have highlighted.

The Matron explained that the Maternity unit has a 22 bedded mixed antenatal and postnatal ward, and that a mixed maternity ward is normal for most maternity services across the country. Unfortunately, due to the capacity on Ward D and lack of facilities for relatives, partners cannot routinely stay and I can appreciate how frustrating this must have been for you when you needed assistance comforting your daughter.

She said the staffing levels on Ward D is birth rate plus compliant and are currently staffed at the budgeted establishment. The team does have weekly staffing meetings, where capacity is reviewed and different ways of working are discussed to ensure staff are in the right place at the right time to meet the needs of the women who use our service, and the matron said she would discuss your experience with the midwives so they can take steps to ensure delays of this nature don’t happen again. The Matron said the midwives do always try to give medication in a timely manner, and would like to apologise that you had to wait to receive pain relief.

If you would like to discuss your concerns further, please contact our Patient Relations team on 01253 955589 or e-mail patient.relations@bfwhospitals.nhs.uk they will be able to arrange a meeting with the Maternity unit to discuss your experience in person.

Alternatively we have a patient stories programme, where you can share the experience you had informally on camera so we can play it back to the staff involved, so they can directly see and hear how their actions have affected you and your family. Visual experiences are a very powerful learning tool and we share stories like yours in training sessions and in team meetings to help to improve practice. If you would be interested in doing this please contact Eleanor Walsh, Patient Engagement Lead on 01253 956374 or email eleanor.walsh@bfwhospitals.nhs.uk

Thank you for leaving your story here on Patient Opinion and once again please accept our apologies that your experience of our Maternity Unit did not meet your expectations.

Yours sincerely

Simone Anderton

Deputy Director of Nursing

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