"My wife gave birth at St George's ..."
About: St George's Hospital (Tooting) (London) St George's Hospital (Tooting) (London) London SW17 0QT
Posted by Nick (as ),
What I liked
My wife gave birth at St George's in September 2009. As far as the birth process itself was concerned, it couldn't have been much improved. The midwives were helpful, friendly and courteous with a birth which did not go ahead exactly as we had planned. Ultimately we were forced to go ahead with a caesarean section and the chief surgeon involved, while somewhat brusque both with us and with his nurses and supporting staff, did a tremendous job. Postpartum care, at least for the night afterwards (my daughter was born at around 9:15pm, was excellent.
What could be improved
The Gwillam Ward. I don't want to be unfair to all staff, as some of them were receptive to my wife's needs, but many of them were downright rude on occasion, when asked the most simple requests. This is a very intimidating time for most mothers and it wasn't helped by the fact that many of the nurses of the Gwillam Ward gave the attitude that this was their job and they didn't care about the needs of their patients. There was no 'induction' for new patients and when myself or my wife asked where anything was, our request was usually met with an unsmiling and grudging response. Before the birth, we turned up at the time we were asked by the midwife but were promptly told that the changeover was taking place and therefore had to occupy ourselves for an hour or so; you'd have thought that the midwife and ward staff would liaise on this. Not only that but when we asked whether we could leave our bags during the changeover, we were initially told by a miserable-looking young lady that this wouldn't be possible and when she was corrected by one of her superiors, she sulkily said that if anything went missing, she couldn't be held to blame. I also noticed great variance in the way rules were applied; at one point, I took my daughter on her trolley to get some formula and was snapped at by one of the midwives, yet I didn't see the same rigidity being applied to the rule about the number of visitors patients could have and staff also seemed lax about ejecting visitors at the allotted time in the evening.Ultimately, my wife was kept in the ward for nearly a week past the birth owing to postpartum complications, yet at no point were we made aware of the two special suites in the ward, let alone offered a bed there. My final impression of the ward came when my wife had left and I needed to fetch the last of our bags; an angry-looking nurse grudgingly allowed me entry and scowled at me when I thanked her.
Once again, no complaints about the birthing experience itself but the attitude of Gwillam Ward staff and some of the procedures there need addressing. It would be nice if all the rules were applied with the same rigidity or flexibility as well. We have decided that if we decide to have a second child, we will opt for a home birth, based on the unpleasant and frankly distressing experience of the Gwillam Ward.