"Ante-natal and delivery were perfect but..."

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

What I liked

I delivered my baby at the RVI in October 2010 and the care I received both prior to my baby's birth, and on the labour ward itself, were faultless. The staff who performed the ante natal scans were helpful, friendly and reassuring. I had quite a long and complicated birth, ending up with a c-section under general anaesthetic. The midwives who looked after me during the delivery never left my side throughout and the anaesthetists who administered my epidural and tended to me in theatre were warm, reassuring and kind. I was given the pain relief I wanted, when I wanted it, and even though my birth did not go to plan, I look back on it with fond memories because we were able to make informed choices throughout. I would not hesitate to give birth at the RVI again, should we decide to have more children in the future.

What could be improved

Notwithstanding what I have said above, the postnatal nursing care at the RVI was very poor, particularly at nights (although the medical care was excellent throughout my stay). Following my delivery at 9pm I was taken to the postnatal ward at around midnight. I hadn't eaten for 3 days whilst in labour and so asked for some food several times that night. Nothing materialised and I had to wait until breakfast the next morning before I could eat. The midwife did apologise that she had forgotten several times. There was little or no support with breastfeeding - I had to repeatedly ask for help, which was brief and impersonal, and no-one showed me how to get my baby to latch properly onto my breast. I had no sleep for 3 days due to other people's babies crying - women whose babies were screaming all night were offered no help whatsoever. On day 3, I transferred to Hexham General Hospital where I received proper support with breastfeeding (if I hadn't received that help, I wouldnt be breastfeeding now) from an amazing team of midwives, and I was able to recuperate properly after the birth. The midwives at Hexham even offered to look after my baby for a few hours so that I could rest - this was never offered at the RVI, despite staff sitting around in the nurses station all night seemingly not doing very much. That few hours sleep made a huge difference to me and to my ability to keep trying with breastfeeding (which we are still doing now, 3 months later). I cannot fault the medical care - I felt I was in very safe hands with the staff on delivery, but the postnatal care needs to be seriously looked at and improved as a matter of urgency.

Anything else?

I waited around all day to be discharged from the RVI. The delay was due to waiting for drugs from the hospital pharmacy (Tinzaparin) for the midwives at Hexham General to administer to me upon my transfer over there. This was completely pointless because Northumbria Healthcare Trust have a different protocol, so the drugs were simply disposed of upon my arrival. I didnt arrive at Hexham until 10.30pm, when I could have got there in the early afternoon if we hadn't waited around all day for the drugs.2010EpiduralGeneral anaestheticPatient careReassuringWardAnaestheticsPharmacyAnaesthetistsFoodImpersonalKindChildrenMidwifeOpening hoursBabiesNursing staff

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Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for posting your comments about your experiences within the Maternity Department at the RVI and bringing these issues to our attention.

We are pleased to hear that your care during your labour and birth were positive despite the complications you experienced. However, we are very sorry to hear that your experience on the postnatal ward fell short of the standard expected, especially at a time when you require the additional support. We apologise unreservedly for this.

It is difficult for us to address your specific concerns without knowing further details. Please be assured that if you wish us to investigate further you can contact the Directorate Manger, Mrs C Wilkinson or the Patient Relations Manager, Mr Paul Anderson on 0191 233 6161.

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