"I had my first baby induced at ..."

About: Barnet Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I had my first baby induced at Barnet. I found the staff in the delivery suite exceptional. The midwives and the students who cared for me did an exceptional job as I was in considerable pain after a failed epidural in conjuction with the drugs to induce me. The anaesthatists were also excellent and worked quickly to relieve my pain. I was treated with dignity and respect and options were made clear to me at every stage. My husband was made to feel welcome and included in all decisions. When we were told we need an emergency c-section everything was explained fully. The theatre staff were fantastic and really made us both feel at ease. I was never made to feel uncomfortable and was able to ask questions and have them answered thoughtfully at every stage. Child birth can be a frightening experience and I cannot fault the staff in the delivery suite and the operating theatre for their care of myself, my husband and my new son. Thank you.

What could be improved

My labour was induced so I was given drugs to kick-start contractions on Victoria Ward. Unfortunately for me, my labour kicked in as my husband was kicked out due to the end of visiting hours. I was left alone on a ward with no other patients and just a call-bell for company. I asked several times for my husband but was told he was not allowed to join me until visiting hours or until I was transferred to the delivery suite. I spent the whole night alone to deal with the pain by myself.

Follwing a wonderful experience in the delivery suite I was transferred back to Victoria Ward following my c-section in the early hours of the morning. My husband was immediately told to leave and I was left alone. I was shown a call-bell but no-one explained when it was appropriate to use it. My after care from this point was almost non-existant. No-one showed me how to breast feed - despite insisting that I did- no one helped me when I expressed concerns that my son was not feeding correctly, no one listened when I said he was distressed and he ended up being taken up to special care by peadiatrics (Starlight Ward is fantastic, by the way), no one kept me informed about his progress or told me what was wrong until I asked - having heard nothing for hours I was distraught. At one point when he was being sick in the bedside crib I was unable to reach him due to my surgery. I rang the buzzer for help to get up only to be met with the response "what do you expect me to do about it? I can't lift you - it's health and safety." Shocking. I had limited support from the midwives and this depended very much on which shift was working. Some were fantastic and helped me, others could't have cared less. Overall I was made to feel more of a burden than a patient. My husband might as well have not existed in their eyes and was kicked out between 8pm and 8am - just when I need him the most. Come on Barnet - where are fathers included in your plan for maternity provision?

Anything else?

Mixed care at Barnet hopsital. Some excellent staff who couldn't do enough to help me. Some who couldn't care less and all who failed to identify a child who wasn't feeding properly - despite me alerting 4 different staff to my concerns - and screaming with hunger (which I was told was wind) almost constantly and leaving hospital dehydrated.

I would give birth at Barnet again as the delivery suite staff and the theatre staff were amazing. I would never recommend a stay on Victoria ward to anyone and think action needs to be taken to address standards of care on this ward with some urgency.

As a side note: I don't know if the uniform colour is of any significance, but the staff in blue uniforms were always willing to help, support and answer questions. It is such a shame that they were not available very often.

I also found the cleaning staff and those who served the meals to be very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately not enough shifts of cleaners are employed and the bathroom facilities were often dirty and on occasions blood stained.

A little attention could transform this service as there are some excellent staff available.

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Response from Barnet Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback and congratualtions on the birth of your son.

We were pleased to read that your experience on the Delivery Suite was positive and would like to apologise that other aspects were not so good.

Please be assured that your feedback will be brought to the attention of the appropriate staff.

If you would like to discuss any of your concerns in more detail, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 020 8216 4924 or e-mail barnetpals@bcf.nhs.uk

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