"Traumatic - highly emotional & very..."

About: Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske)

What I liked

There were only a few very good maternity nurses who had the necessary understanding, compassion and skills to assist new mums with getting to grips with everything. As this was my first baby, I had no idea how I would cope and how I would be affected by the birth and the first few days there after in getting into the swing of thing. If only I could have just had the same set of nurses caring for me throughout the day & night, I might have been out of hospital a lot quicker.

The direct medical team who assisted with my breech c-section were excellent, if only their quality, level of care, skill & professionalism could extend to all staff at the Treliske hospital.

What could be improved

- Better trained staff to ensure that a breech pregnancy is spotted a lot earlier than 40wks+4.

- Better waiting room areas, conditions to hang around in for 6 hours at 40wks+4 pregnant whist waiting for breech c-section appointment.

- Provide more regular & useful updates as to what is going on whilst I had to wait for 6 hours for a c-section appointment that was supposed to be the first one of the day.

- My son & I would have benefited from closer monitoring directly after he was born as I was trying to breastfeed and had difficulty as I was unable to move due to operation and my milk had not started properly. Breastfeeding was not established well enough from the start and didn't seem to be a concern to anyone, by which time my son was becoming dehydrated and then eventually developed jaundice, prolonging our stay in hospital.

- More staff that actually listen and act upon what they say - due to previous history of DVT, I had to have daily injections which I was then to carry on myself at home. For the first 3 days a nurse adminstered this, but then they said they would show me how to do this the next time. I was then left with the injection, but no idea how to administer it. I went to ask for help and was told that someone would be with me, but no one came depsite asking again several times - seems that they were too busy. In the end I missed that medication and it was only when the "day time" staff came back on duty that it got sorted out.

- Better "night duty" staff of the same quality & calibre as the "day time" staff. It seemed to me that the care over night deteriorated compared to the day and at a time when family had to go home & I was left on my own, this was not a nice experience.

I felt like I was a "chore" to have to come and deal with and that I was looked upon as incompetent as I was having trouble breastfeeding and I felt my son & myself were roughly manhandled when being shown what to do, as if they were getting annoyed with me.

Anything else?

- Lacking sensible consideration of patients - on another occasion, my c-section wound started weeping & seeping quite badly. I had no idea what was going on and thought it had split, as my nightdress and sheet got soaked with watery blood. I was bluntly told it was fine and left to it and only after asking, was I given something to "soak" it up with as it was still weeping a lot. I was then left with wet, dirty bed sheets and when I pointed this out I was asked "do you want me to change them?" Surely, it was pretty obvious that they needed changing not only for my comfort, but also for hygiene purposes. This to me displays an utter lack of consideration and care for the patient and job.

- Speed up with the paperwork/admin - the day I finally left also had it's issues, as after a week from hell, I just wanted to get out of there. But for some reason I wasn't allowed to just leave and had to hang around nearly all day whilst someone completed "the paperwork". Not sure what this involves, but I am sure it could have been done a lot quicker & smoother, as by 5pm when we were finally allowed to leave, my whole families stress levels were running quite high.

Needless to say, my week stay on the maternity ward was highly emotional & stressful and not how I had expected the first week of my sons life to be.

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske)

We are disappointed if a mother's experience does not meet her expectations and would encourage her raise any concerns with us at the time so that we can put things right there and then. We do appreciate though that the arrival of a new baby is quite rightly the sole focus of attention for parents and relatives and it may not be until sometime after the event there is time to reflect. We do welcome and value feedback and are happy for mothers to contact us at any time so that we can look into any concerns in more detail and respond directly to them.

We do pride ourselves on offering high standards of care and responses from national Care Quality Commission surveys show that mothers rate us as among the best maternity services in the country, with over 90% rating their overall experience as excellent, very good or good.