"Ante natal and Branston Ward at Lincoln County Hospital"

About: Lincoln County Hospital / Gynaecology

(as a relative),

My wife and I went for our dating scan at 12 weeks. Our appointment was late by over 30 minutes and the organisation was poor. The healthcare assistant was walking people into the waiting room and asking people to take a seat in front of the scan rooms, where there was no seats! She just kept doing it! Leaving people then standing when they could of just stayed sat in Reception. I would suggest that you are informed that the clinic is running late and also don't ask people to take a seat if there is no seats for them to sit on.

We then got called into the scan room. The sonographer was clearly in a rush and told us her name and asked my wife to get on the bed. She started to scan within a few seconds and asked how many weeks we thought we were. We said 12 weeks and she said I'm sorry, I cannot see a heartbeat.

This came as a huge shock to both of us as there had been no signs. At this point we had only been in the room for just over a minute. She then said that someone else would need to look and confirm. A second person then came back in with her and she showed him what she was seeing on the screen. He said he was sorry and went out. I asked if she could tell us when the miscarriage happened and she said the baby was only measuring 8 weeks 5 days. She then asked us to follow her out of the room and she will take us to somewhere to discuss next steps.

This for us was so rushed and we believe we would have coped better if the sonographer slowed down, took time to tell us what she was seeing, asked us if we would like her to talk us through what she is seeing on the screen (eg the heartbeat detection tools, length of the baby, what the surroundings looked like etc). It felt very procedural and uncaring. The sonographer was polite but we really just needed some care at this point.

The worst part was when we were then led out of the room, through the packed waiting room. We were both visually upset and had to then walk through reception to get to Hemswell ward while the sonographer walked in front of us. I would suggest that an alternative route is taken that avoids reception and I saw on a different occasion that there is another corridor. It was bad enough having to walk through the main waiting room but to have to walk through past the cafe, the small waiting room and reception where excited parents to be are booking their next scans and arriving for their scans was upsetting.

When we reached Hemswell ward, she literally put us in a room and said someone will be with us shortly to talk us through next steps and walked off. This room was HORRIBLE. It was two seats, an old desk and plain magnolia walls with a ceiling which looked like a grey rainy cloud. Please please create a room which at least feels warm and homely not cold and depressing. I would also suggest a leaflet which would briefly explain what would happen as I know it will not always be possible for a 1 to 1 handover at busy times.

We were left in this room for 15-20 minutes while we could hear people having a laugh and chatting in the corridor. I would suggest a quiet room as well as the door was useless, just a flimsy wooden door. I felt that these people laughing were actually in the room.

The nurse then knocked and came into see us. She was very polite and came across as caring and talked us through everything and what options there were. She gave us some booklets of the different options however they were photocopies and with crossings out. Please redesign these or at least print them properly? The nurse gave us time to make a decision and popped out of the room. She then booked an appointment to come back and seemed to want to get us back as soon as possible as that is what we wanted. We chose medical management and asked to come back at 8:30 to Hemswell ward a few days later.

When we arrived back on the ward, we were asked to wait in the same room. A nurse then came through about five minutes later. Again she spoke nicely and was polite however it was very procedural by reading and filling out a form. We really were not prepared for some of the questions as they weren't explained in the booklet. We were asked if we would like the baby examined and my wife just said no but that was not an informed decision. This must be explained in the booklet.

Also it came as a bit of a shock that our baby would be group cremated at Boston as part of a monthly cremation. Again my wife just said yes but didn't know about this and had to make a decision on the morning at that time, just before she was admitted. We were then taken to Branston Ward.

On arrival to Branston Ward at 9am, the nurse asked us to wait and someone would be back in a minute. We were then left waiting in a disused ward with a circle of seats for 35 minutes. It had no lights on, we had to sit with other people and 2 mothers with babies. Was this appropriate? My wife then went to ask reception what was happening and she said the nurse was just coming and then offered to sit in a quiet room as she must of realised that other people with babies were in the makeshift waiting room. My suggestion would be to use the quiet room when available, keep patients informed of delays and re-design the waiting room so you aren't in a big circle.

We were then taken to a side room. This was fantastic to have a private room with own toilet. The nurses where saying that we were 'lucky' to have a room! Do you really put ladies who are having miscarriages on a 4 bed ward? I hope not. The staff were really good and came straight away after every time the buzzer was pressed. This was great as you don't want to be waiting in between each one. Both my wife and I were well looked after, the catering was very good and the nursing team professional and caring.

I hope our experience can help you make improvements for other patients.

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Responses

Response from Sue Bennion, Head of Midwifery/Nursing for Women’s & Childrens, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

I am so sorry to hear about your wife's miscarriage and the lack of consideration to you both during this sad and difficult time. I will ensure that I share your account of your experiences of our services with the relevant staff so that they are able to reflect on how they may be perceived.

The Trust is currently reviewing its estate and facilities, and the Maternity and Gynaecological Services are included within this project. We recognise that some of our facilities are not currently providing an appropriate environment.

I would be more than willing to meet with you to discuss all of your valid and helpful comments further. If you and your wife would like to get in touch with me, please could you contact my secretary on 01476 464141 to arrange a convenient date for you both.

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Response from Lincoln County Hospital

I am so sorry that this is such a late update to your posting - we replied via Patient Opinion back in December and I have pasted that response below; I dont want people to think that we are not listening or responding to feedback which is incredibly valuable to us: Sue Bennion - Head of Midwifery / Nursing Womens & Childrens services. I am so sorry to hear about your wife's miscarriage and the lack of consideration to you both during this sad and difficult time. I will ensure that I share your account of your experiences of our services with the relevant staff so that they are able to reflect on how they may be perceived. The Trust is currently reviewing its estate and facilities, and the Maternity and Gynaecological Services are included within this project. We recognise that some of our facilities are not currently providing an appropriate environment. I would be more than willing to meet with you to discuss all of your valid and helpful comments further. If you and your wife would like to get in touch with me, please could you contact my secretary on 01476 464141 to arrange a convenient date for you both.

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