"Individually-the staff are incredible..."

About: Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital (Welwyn Garden City)

What I liked

I had my first baby at QE II in July and on the positive sides, the majority of the maternity staff were very caring and very knowledgable, as well as I felt very comfortable with the facilties.

What could be improved

Communication! Each individual that we dealt with was mainly very kind & helpful but I am afraid that collectively, it was a hugely dissppointing experience. I know that this is probabaly mainly due to staff shortages and underfunding etc, the poor midwives were stretched to the extreme. The story is long so I won't go into detail but I would appreciate discussing it with the head of maternity in the hopes that my story can be constructive in improving services.

Needless to say, I feel improvements are neccessary. I know that these midwives deal with pregnant women every day. but this was my first and felt I deserved a little more support & understanding. I felt that I was very pateient and understanding and let most things slide but after days of being at the hospital, when I did question things, I was made to feel like I was the one being unreasonable.

When I left the hospital with my new baby, it should have een an exciting joyful moment, but I was crying and upset and when my husband suggest that we go back in to 'complain' or discuss our treatment, I didn't want to do it as I just wanted to get out of there. It's only now, 4 months later, that I have been able to relfect and feel that I really should tell my story as perhaps it would help others.

Anything else?

A few examples:

I was put on a monitor, which was supposed to be for about 30mins. After 2 1/2 hours on the monitor, I finally buzzed the midwife and when she came, I was told that she had forgotten about me.

I was told one day that I would be moved the the delivery suite at 7pm once the shift had changed. After several hours, we asked the new midwife who said that they didn't know if I was going to be transferred or not as there weren't enough rooms available.

I finally got transferred about 130am, and was told by the midwife there that it wasn't sue to lack of rooms, but due to lack of staff.

The day my daughter was born, I asked to see the lactation consultant twice and never saw her.

The tape that held the needle into my hand for the drip had loosened, and asked three times to get it taped back up as it was painful but it never happened. After 8 hours, my husband finally went and helped himself at the nurses station.

The worst though was that I was told in the morning that I could go home that day with my baby, and at 3pm then I asked about the procedure to leave, I was told then that I couldn't go home as because my baby was born more than 48hours after my waters broke, that she should have been monitored every hour from birth for 12 hours in case of infection and that they hadn't done that.

After a major discussion and debate, I was told that after a final sign off from the pediatrician, that we could go. This was at about 4pm. At 9:30pm, we were still waiting for the pediatrician and the midwife came in to say she was off for the night but that we were definately going home and that the pediatrician shouldn't be much longer. At 1030pm, we asked the new midwife who informed us that there was no way the pediatrician would come by that late at night and that we wouldn't be going home. You can imagine how upsetting this was after sitting in our going home clothes for more than 5 hours!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital

We're really sorry that your experience of the QEII's maternity service, especially given that it was your first baby, was not as you would have wished. Our head of midwifery would very much like to talk with you too - to arrange this, either contact the maternity unit directly or e-mail us on generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net.

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