About: Crowborough Birthing Centre

What I liked

I was loaned a express machine by one of the midwives after the birth when they discovered my baby was underweight.

What could be improved

I was diagnosed with SPD at 7.5 months, which the midwives did not pick up, but I suffered with from 2 months into the pregnancy.

They failed to book me into Pembury as a 2nd choice to Crowborough as I had requested, even though I had clearly stated that in no circumstances did I wish to go to Eastbourne. I only found this out when I had a false alarm and the midwife on duty said I had no choice but to go there. They then tried to book me into Pembury, only to have a row in front of me on the telephone with the staff there, as they refused to book me in as I was not under their area. I was told later that this had been resolved.

When my waters broke at 1.30am, the midwife at Crowborough told me to come to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart. I did, and they didn't have any record of me phoning earlier at all and I was told off for not telephoning. I was then told to sit in the waiting room as there were no beds available. Despite being on crutches and having extreme pain and difficulty walking due to SPD and the contractions, they kept me in the waiting room for 2 hours, only to tell me there would be no bed available at Crowborough for me, and to go home and sort another hospital elsewhere myself. Luckily my Mother stood up for me and insisted that they find me a hospital, reiterating that I'd never make it up the stairs to my flat on the crutches and after the last telephone row we'd witnessed, we prefered them to organise a hospital. Reluctantly they obtained a bed for me at Hastings, after finding out that Pembury was full too.

They refused to let me go in an ambulance, so we ended up driving there cross country.

My experience of this fiasco when I was most vulnerable has left me extremely angry, shocked, and scared for other women who may find themselves in the same situation. The unit was clearly understaffed, and the midwives that dealt with me did not communicate with each other. I would not recommend this hospital at all.

Anything else?

The anti natal care was patchy. I'd make an appointment, only to find when I turned up that I was seeing someone entirely different without warning, or that they didn't know I had an appointment. My midwife booked a holiday when I was due without letting me know.

My experience at Hastings was also patchy. My baby ended up being born via c-section after they realised the cord was wrapped around the baby's shoulders. Why couldn't they have scanned me at Crowborough to check the baby was ok? Instead, I had to endure a 50 hour labour that was unnecessary.

The aftercare was also very patchy at Crowborough. One midwife was flustered and rude, making it clear I was taking up her valuable time when they visited almost as soon as she got through the door. My baby had 3 heel prick tests as the first 2 were done incorrectly by different midwives.

Story from NHS Choices

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