"More detrimental than beneficial to my wellbeing,..."

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

What I liked

I was treated following a miscarriage. I found the 24 hour access to Ward 40 beneficial and while an inpatient I felt that the staff were empathetic and supportive

What could be improved

When seen in EPAC I felt as if I what i was going through was routine - no consideration was given by the staff that I might be upset and need some sensitivity. My EPAC experience improved following a complaint to the directorate manager - but patient shouldn't have to complain to receive a better service. i was given little information about what to expect including what warning signs would necessitate ringing the 24 hour access number, meaning I was left bleeding at home unprepared for the extent of blood loss, and no advice about how much pain to expect and how to manage it. At the point of diagnosis, I was given no choice over my treatment plan despite explicitly asking for choice, and when choice was eventually offered at a further appointment followinng it was far too late. Worst of all there was no consideration for my individual circumstances. I was placed in the termination of pregnancy clinic for medical management which greatly added to my distress. Newcastle Hospitals claim to treat everyone as individuals and treat patients undergoing miscarriage with sensitivity, but they do not discuss individuals and any sensitivity in terms of bed allocation must have been done entirely on the basis of assumption on the part of the staff. It is disgraceful to place patients going through such a traumatic experience in the same environment as people undergoing terminations of pregnancy (with just curtains seperating the bays) without explicit discussion and agreement from the patient.

Story from NHS Choices

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Responses

Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on NHS Choices about your recent experience at the RVI. We are very disappointed to hear that you felt the service provided to you at this very difficult time fell short of the standard expected.

We do understand that pregnancy loss is distressing and the staff on the Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic (EPAC) aim to give the best care to each individual patient at all times.

In terms of how patients are allocated beds, we do give priority to patients in such circumstances to be given a cubicle or separate area to maintain their privacy. However, obviously some miscarriages can be an emergency and the clinical needs of the patient would take precedence. We do aim to keep the patient informed of their treatment choices and bed allocation at all times and can only apologise if you felt that you were not kept informed during your stay.

Staff in the EPAC are specialist nurses with skills in supporting women and their partners and providing information regarding options for treatment and what to expect in terms of pain and bleeding. It is obviously going to be difficult for patients to recall all of the information provided during this emotional time. We are therefore reviewing the information that we provide to women in these circumstances to ensure that they have the information that they need. We are working with a previous patient on this area to ensure the information covers the details that the woman would find useful.

Finally, can we assure you that we do take your feedback seriously and continue to review our practice to ensure that we provide support to individual women in this very sensitive area treating all patients with dignity and respect. We do offer supportive counselling for patients and would like to offer this to you if you feel it may be helpful. The matron for Women’s Service would also like to meet with you to explore or discuss any concerns that may not have been addressed. If you would like to do this, please contact Matron Angela Barnes on 0191 233 6161. Alternatively you may wish to contact the Patient Relations Manager, Mr Paul Anderson on 0191 233 6161 for a full investigation of your concerns.

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