"Maternity helpline doesn't really help"

About: St Mary's Hospital (London)

I found the accessibility and efficiency of the Maternity Helpline and the Booking Office below standard. I called the Helpline last Wednesday with some warning signs of miscarriage but was told that I should not worry (I'm over 43 and it was an IVF pregnancy). I was asked to book an appointment which I wasn't able to do it due to the fact that a week was not enough to my GP to refer me. I was transferred back to the Helpline to do the self-referral but I gave up after waiting over 40 minutes. Instead I sent my self-referral the next day by e-mail and called the Booking Office a few hours later. The operator was very unfriendly and rude and insisted on transferring my call to the Helpline. They didn't want to understand that the previous day I already talked to them and they suggested to book an appointment as soon as I can. Finally a more professional person took it over and I was assured to be booked as soon as possible. I've received my appointment for the following Monday but on Friday I miscarried. I know that being seen by someone and having a scan would not prevent the unfortunate event but I begged to know if the baby is still alive. Probably she was not... As the miscarriage happened outside of London out of hours I was not able to cancel my first appointment with the midwife, so I went there with the hope that they are going to arrange a scan. I was sent to the A & E to book a time there but they didn't understand why I'm there and not at my GP who should refer me for a scan.

Now I clearly understand why there are so many charities and helplines offering support after miscarriage as when it happens, no-body seems to care. Being sent from place to place while no-one wants to arrange a scan to see if the miscarriage is completed or need a surgical termination is not the best experience after such a loss...

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Response from St Mary's Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is extremely concerned about your posting on NHS Choices.

Please accept our apologies on behalf of the Trust for issues with the maternity helpline and booking office at St Mary's hospital and the distress and anxiety this has caused.

Also for the upsetting loss you have experienced.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) would like to have the opportunity to look into your comments with senior managers.

We would urge you to contact PALS on 0203 313 0088 or email pals@imperial.nhs.uk

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