"I was 20 weeks pregnant and started..."
About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary The Royal Victoria Infirmary Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 4LP
What I liked
I was 20 weeks pregnant and started bleeding. I phoned the maternity assessment unit (MAU), who whilst taking an inordinate amount of time to answer the phone, were reassuring and asked pertinent questions. On arrival at the MAU, I was seen immediately and had my blood pressure checked. Within a short space of time, I was put into a private room and my baby's heartbeat was checked, which was obviously very reassuring.
What could be improved
After the initial assessment, I was left in the assessment room for over 3 hours waiting to see a doctor to confirm I could leave. At no point did any midwife come to check on me. My boyfriend kept on going out to the midwife station to ask what was happening and when I could be discharged. The midwives were sat around eating, drinking and chatting and seemed not to be bothered by the fact they'd left me - and a few other pregnant women who were also in the MAU. My boyfriend was continually fobbed off with random times for when we would see a doctor. We were told the delay was due to a shift change, which is unacceptable - I've worked in the service industry and disruptions due to a shift change can be minimised with decent management (which I know is lacking in the NHS). It would've taken 10 minutes of the departing doctor's time to check I was fine but instead I was made to wait for over 3 hours. At no point was I offered anything to eat or drink.
I was eventually admitted to a ward for overnight observation with the accompanying words from the doctor "if you do go into labour there's nothing we can do". Which begs the question of why I was being kept in. The doctor would not let me go home for a change of clothes, even though I was wearing soiled clothes. I was eventually offered a sandwich on the ward at 11.30pm - about 5 hours after I'd arrived but was not offered a shower or even informed where this was. Despite it being June, the ward was cold and the thin bed sheets inadequate.
The following day I was due to see a haematologist. Again I was kept waiting, but for the usual 30 minutes one expects with the NHS. Instead I saw a registrar, who did not seem to know what she was doing and kept leaving the room - for reasons unknown to me. I had had blood tests taken the night before in advance of meeting the haematologist but the registrar couldn't find my results. I said I'd also had blood taken a week earlier by my doctor and the results were at the Freeman hospital. For some reason, the registrar decided to phone North Tyneside instead and unsurprisingly couldn't find my earlier results. After half an hour the registrar said she'd have to take more blood. By this point I'd been in the hospital for about 24 hours with a lot of stress and waiting. In addition, my boyfriend had to catch a train and I thought the registrar was incompetent so I was not prepared to wait around any longer while she made up her mind. I told her I was not having any blood taken and was leaving.
One final point. I recently had a tour of the delivery suite and I thought it was gloomy and depressing. I know the NHS is on a tight budget but welcoming paint and curtains are not expensive. I have since transferred to another hospital to give birth.