"Awful - I am still traumatised"

About: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital

What could be improved

Communication between staff. Level of care provided by staff.

Anything else?

I had a truly awful experience of giving birth here in September 2010 and would not recommend this hospital to anyone. The clinical side of things was all fine, but the staff were so rude, didn't seem to know or like each other, no-one took responsibility for anything - when you asked someone a question they would say 'I don't know, ask X'. The lack of communication was absolutely astounding.

I had a catheter fitted after the birth so couldn't move properly, yet everyone was too busy to help out with anything - even things they drum into you like breastfeeding. When they finally came to you, you were made to feel like you were wasting their time. At one point I asked for a glass of water and was told to go and get it myself - and this was when I still didn't have use of my legs as I'd had an emergency epidural!

On top of this, at the start of every day I'd be told I was being discharged so my other half would come with the car paying the congestion charge and the £35 a day parking fee, and then it would get to the end of the day and they'd say 'That midwife has left for the day now so you'll have to stay again.' I thought I was going mental by the end of it - this went on for five days! - and finally we threatened to discharge ourselves. It was only then, that something was done about it. Neither me or my other half are very good complainers, and it's a shame that that was the only way to get anyone to listen to you.

This was our first baby so we didn't really know what to expect (plus we didn't have any family around to help) and at the time, we both thought this must have just been normal. I felt so traumatised for months afterwards and even now feel weepy every time someone talks of the amazing midwife they had during their labour. I feel like it could have been such a different experience but instead it has left me never wanting to go through it again.

Story from NHS Choices

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