"Good hospital, some brilliant staff,..."

About: St Michael's Hospital (Bristol)

What I liked

I had two fantastic midwives in the delivery suite, one was a student who was just brilliant. I got an epidural when needed.

The food gets slagged off a lot, but I found the catering staff to be really friendly and the food not that bad.

What could be improved

I think some of the staff - particularly consultants - live in a little bubble up there and think they know what's best without really listening to how a woman feels. I would go as far as to say one was rather bullying.

Whilst the delivery suite was great, the ward afterwards was not good. I found things written in my notes that were not actually ever said or done.

Dreadful attempt at breaking waters by one midwife. For midwives who have never experienced this personally, a little sympathy would be nice because this was worse than the birth part.

I was also given some hogwash that if I dared give any formula milk to the baby I would never be able to breastfeed afterwards.

I felt, as this was my second birth there, that I wanted to get out as soon as possible as the longer you stay in, the harder it seems to get out.

Anything else?

It's the second baby I have had at this hospital - one emergency section, one VBAC with forceps. Some staff aren't great, others are brilliant, but in context, generally it's a fairly clean, organised hospital that does a really good job.

I think baby magazines make first time mums think they are staying in some kind of hotel and give them unrealistic expectations.

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Responses

Response from St Michael's Hospital

I am very pleased that you found some of the midwives so helpful, the food good and catering staff friendly. I will ensure this is fed back to staff. I am sorry that you felt that some consultant behaviour was bullying. There are Supervisors of Midwives available 24 hours a day at St. Michaels whose role is to ensure the safety of mothers and babies and can act as an advocate for women. All medical staff and midwives must ensure women are given facts and are informed of risks in order that they are able to make informed choice about their care.

I am sorry that the explanations given to you regarding breast feeding were not clear. Again women are free to give their baby formula but must be able to make informed choice. Research and best practice advice is for breast fed babies not to have formula milk given to them at all in the early days unless it is medically indicated.

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