"Not able to get through to speak to someone"

About: University Hospital Lewisham

I was extremely eager to get my first appointment with a midwife, and because it was a Saturday when I found the contact information, I thought it would be faster to submit an online self-referral form. After 10 days of waiting, I called (as specified on your website) to try to get an appointment.

I called the midwife contact number on the Lewisham and Greenwich website and left a message.

I received a call later that day, but was told that they were Greenwich midwives, not Lewisham, and I had been referred to University Hospital Lewisham, so they had to give me the contact details for your hospital.

I called the number that I was given many many times over the last four working days.

I am constantly listening to a ringing phone, pressing one and starting the procedure over and over again with absolutely no luck.

I left a message on a second phone number that I got for Lewisham maternity services, which was last week, and no response. Today the menu changed when I called and no longer seemed to offer me the opportunity to enter my extension number, instead it asked what department I wanted. I got through to Maternity, and was told that they don't deal with that, and I need to try a different extension. (Not the same as the extension I have been trying for 4 days, so who knows which one is actually correct!) I attempted to explain that the phone was not allowing me to enter extension numbers, but just had the member of staff repeat the procedure to me as if I didn't understand the concept. I marched to keep this maternity ward open and am truly disappointed in this situation.

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Response from University Hospital Lewisham

Sincere apologies for the confusion and delay in receiving your first midwifery appointment.

This is not what we expect from our services and it is not a reflection on the care we give.

The community services have recently undergone a new way of working; based out in the community Children’s Centres and Medical Centres.

The phone lines should have been redirected ensuring that a delay didn’t occur.

Apologies again for this upset, can I suggest that you contact me at lynn.bayes@nhs.net and I will arrange your first appointment and inform you of your named midwife.

Lynn Bayes

Matron for Birth Centre and Community Services

Supervisor of Midwives

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

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