"Dangerous understaffing and hygiene on Burstow"

About: East Surrey Hospital

Please be very careful before choosing to give birth here. The staff are lovely but it is extremely understaffed and the levels of care are dangerous at times. I had a planned c section. Arrived at 10.30am and was nil by mouth until op which took place at 4.30. I was kept waiting the entire 6 hours and had my consultations and medical check-ups in the public dining area (yes onlookers and surrounded by people eating) as no beds available. The recovery area was full so after surgery I was on crowded burstow ward almost immediately after stitching up. My drips ran out and were alarming, no one came, midwife alarm then pressed no one came, husband had to keep chasing them to check and replace my drips. By midnight I had not eaten in 18 hours and was feeling starving and faint. They told me no food available there until 7 or 8am when breakfast would be served (would mean over 24hrs without food). Luckily husband had snacks so I ate those. Next morning lady came to remove drips and catheter so I could get out of bed walking. Was in severe pain and wanted to try walking one lap round bed first. Was told no she had others to get up and I needed to walk straight to bathroom to freshen up. I collapsed on the way because she had pushed me too much too quickly it was disgusting and left me in worse condition. I was unable to lift or care for baby initially and be warned it would be extremely inadvisable to not have someone stay the night sleeping in chair by your bed if you have a c section. The staffing levels meant no one was able to attend to just crying babies or nappy changes, even when you are bed ridden. Every c section lady had her husband stay overnight there when I was on the ward . My partner had to help me go to toilet and pick up and feed baby as no staff came. Baby peed on sheet, asked for new one 3 times but it was low priority so kept getting deferred and not provided. There were no showering facilities, urine samples went unchecked and left in bathroom for more than 2 days. Cobwebs around ward as they are unable to deep clean due to quick turnover of beds needed. You basically need to bring your own care staff (birth partner) and be very careful with hygiene. I was told they had 14 admissions in one night and ward was not designed to cope with that but it's no longer a rare occurrence.

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Response from Maxine May, Communications Officer, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

I am very sorry that you have been left dissatisfied with your care and would like to thank you for taking the time to feedback your concerns. We take your feedback very seriously and use it to ensure improvements are made. If you would like to arrange to meet with me please can you email me: michelle.cudjoe@sash.nhs.uk

Thank you

Michelle Cudjoe

Divisional Chief Nurse - Midwifery

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