"Going home"

About: Newham General Hospital

What I liked

Going home

What could be improved

The quality of care; staff's attitudes towards patients (some of the midwives were lovely, but I inititally received rude and cold treatment); more staff needed; unorganised; needed more beds available.

I gave birth in this hospital just over a week ago. It was a Saturday early morning but I thought that wouldn't matter because I was booked in for then (my due date). On arrival we were curtly told there were not enough beds and they were understaffed and we should remain in the waiting room. My contractions had started very suddenly that evening and by this point were already two minutes apart and very strong. There were two other girls waiting in the corridor with me for a bed, all of us with contractions coming every two minutes. We seriously thought we would have to give birth in the corridor. The ambulance staff who had brought me in wanted to transfer me to another hospital but were worried that I wouldn't make it in time. The staff at Newham didn't really want to know about us and were quite dismissive. It was only when I shouted out I needed to push that they found me a bed - not in the Midwifery Unit I was booked into, but in a bay. The midwives were initially quite impatient and rude with me, but when they realised that I wasn't just complaining but was actually quite far into labour, they became a little friendlier.

None of the equipment or medications seemed prepared and the midwife had to go back several times to get everything ready for a simple antibiotics IV. They were totally unprepared for the speed of labour and I had to shout out to them that the baby's head had already come out.

The midwife present forgot to take a blood sample at birth from the baby's umbilical cord to check her blood group and to see whether I needed an anti-D injection - this wasn't carried out until 3am the following morning by pricking the heel of the infant, which caused her considerable distress and she subsequently wouldn't settle for the rest of the night.

Anything else?

We were then told because the blood had been taken so late and it was now a Sunday, the lab results would take longer, so I should go home and the hospital would inform me if I needed an injection, which would be administered by a community midwife, from whom I should receive a visit within 48 hours. After 48 hours had passed and still no sign of the midwife I phoned the hospital again, to be told that because I had recently moved outside of the local borough, any community care would be undertaken by midwives from the new borough. However, the hopsital had forgotten to transfer my details to them. The midwives from the new borough were actually very prompt in visiting and shocked to hear of all the mishaps that had occurred at Newham. They told me I should have ideally received the anti-D within 72 hours of giving birth and advised me to contact the hospital to check the blood test results.

When I phoned the hospital it took several attempts for them to find my baby on the system using her hospital number. She wasn't given an NHS number on discharge, which meant further chasing up and numerous calls until I got through to someone who managed to find her details and who was also intitially quite rude to me when I said she should have all the information on her computer system. I was also informed that they had somehow 'lost' my baby's blood test results and that I should come back into the hospital for an anti-D injection, "just in case" - this would necessitate a journey of over 1 hour on public transport with a newborn, but the midwives could not come out to me because I had moved borough, and the hospital did not have a policy of refunding taxi fares, even though I had to come in because of their negligence.

All in all I wish I had changed hospitals befire the birth, but because I had received the majority of my ante-natal care there and this was also my first child, I was hesitant to move to a new environment so close to the birth date.

Story from NHS Choices

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