"felt treated as a nuisance"

About: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Maternity care

(as the patient),

Unplanned c section birth. Earlier this year I was admitted to the queen Elizabeth university hospital for the birth of my daughter. This was my first pregnancy however I was not nervous and was willing to just go with the flow.

My waters broke in the early hours of the morning and upon calling the maternity assessment unit I was told to stay at home for 7 hours when I could come to the maternity unit and they would assess me. 7 hours later myself and my husband went to maternity assessment as requested and were told despite being asked to come down at that time there was no one available to see me. I had been experiencing contractions for 6 and a half hours and by this point they were manageable.

I feel that maternity assessment treated me as a nuisance despite the fact I only went to the assessment unit because they asked me. Eventually after an hour and a half experiencing contractions in the waiting room I was seen.

They confirmed my waters had broken and I was having contractions and sent me home to come back when they were 5 mins apart. That afternoon I went back as my contractions were 3 mins apart and lasting a minute at a time, they again sent me home until they were 2 mins apart as they had no rooms in the labour suite, 3 hours later I came back after a very very painful car journey with contractions 90 seconds apart, they still wanted to send me home as I was only 4cm dialated however I stood my ground and they agreed to let me in the labour suite.

After half an hour I was examined again and had went to 6cm where they agreed to give me pain relief via a bath, 20mins later the labour nurse took one look at me and sent me to the delivery suite where things really started to move. I found maternity assessment staff to be nice but incredibly unhelpful, being sent home for lack of beds was not great and a painful car journey could have been avoided had they let me stay.

I feel they also should have picked up that my contractions where not reflecting adequate dialation which would have helped matters later. The midwife in delivery Kirsty was excellent! She took me to 9cm on gas and air and only insisted on an epidural when I was too exhausted to push.

Unfortunately I had to wait 2 hours for it as the anaesthesiologist was in theatre and only one was on at night - I think this should be looked at and a second available. After pushing and getting nowhere 2 excellent consultants decided to scan the baby and decide best way forward. I was then given another epidural and a spinal block as we attempted a forceps delivery as babies heart rate dropped, after a failed forceps I was quickly administered diamorphine and prepped for c section.

Again the consultants midwife and anaesthesiologist team were excellent and my daughter was safely delivered at 7am. I cannot praise the delivery team highly enough, our nurse Mhairi in recovery was excellent too and despite there being no beds in the post natal ward Mhairi looked after me and managed to secure me a bed later that afternoon.

The midwives in post natal were fantastic too, yes they are understaffed and very under resourced but anytime I asked for anything even just advice they were there straight away day or night! We feared there may be an issue with my daughters eyes due to the forceps and they dealt with this straight away arranging for a paediatric doctor to see her, thankfully everything was fine but their care and attention was outstanding.

I know there has been many stories about lack of care and support but if you work with the maternity team you will find their level of care to be great! If you need something ask, if you feel something isn't right tell them, it's not their fault they are so under resourced and they are trying to do their best for you.

My community midwife team pre birth were very very unhelpful and inconsistent so I was pleasantly surprised to be in the care of much much better midwives. I would recommend the maternity unit and would ask maternity assessment to be understanding of people's needs and not so quick to dismiss. Overall despite the circumstances I had a great birthing experience.

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Responses

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear Dolly79,

Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl! I know it will have been a very busy time for you since she arrived, so I appreciate you taking the time to write such a detailed account of your experiences when she was born.

Although I am glad that your experience in the Labour Suite and in the post-natal ward was largely positive, there are a number of points that we could definitely learn from, particularly in terms of communication during those early stages of labour as from what you have said, this is what the issues you experienced really come down to. I will ask my colleagues from Maternity Services to have a look at your feedback to consider the points you have made and respond more fully to the feedback you have given.

We will be back in touch soon, but in the meantime I wish you and your daughter all the best.

Kind Regards,

Lorna

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Update posted by Dolly79 (the patient)

Thank you Lorna it's good to know my feedback has been acknowledged and understood. Maternity assessment in particular would do well to look at their communication skills and the manner in which they speak to patients, they may not be aware this is how they are coming across but now they are aware hopefully they will make an effort to communicate effectively with the patients in their care at their most vulnerable time.

I do also feel community midwives have to look at their ways of working as well. My experience whilst pregnant was not great at all, I was lucky if I seen the same midwife twice and most of the ones I came into contact with were very dismissive and unhelpful, again empathy and better communication is required.