"Many improvements could be made. Very unpleasant..."
About: University College Hospital University College Hospital London NW1 2BU
What I liked
New hospital. Some of the healthcare assistants were very lovely.
What could be improved
I delivered my son at UCLH in May 2010. I was induced and essentially my contractions went from 0 to 100 miles an hour in a very short amount of time. I was refused an epidural to cope with the continuous, excruciating pain that lasted for about 7 hours.
The midwives in the delivery suite could have been a lot more sensitive. For example,
- One midwife made negative comments about the fact that my partner and I were not married. It was absolutely none of her business that we were not married. I had also hired a private midwife to provide additional support during the pregnancy. When the extremely painful contractions started, this same UCH midwife commented words to the effect "didn't your posh/expensive/private midwife teach you breathing techniques".
- After delivering my son, the midwife who delivered my baby told me off for taking pads from a trolley in the delivery room. I only wanted to take them because I was bleeding heavily and needed them.
- When I got to the second stage of labour and it was time to push my baby out I was alone in the delivery room.
- The postnatal ward was shambolic. For example, the whiteboard in the midwives/assistants area stated that I had been discharged, but in fact I hadn't been discharged, I was still in the bed. (We waited all day to be discharged).
- A number of women and their newborns are in a small area, so it is difficult to sleep and get much privacy. You would think that when you design a new hospital you would ensure it has more space.
Improvements need to be made in so many areas. Many changes required don't require a huge amount of funding. It costs nothing to be sensitive and kind.
I question whether women should be encouraged to write birth plans prior to giving birth. In my experience UCH took no notice of my birth plan - which essentially just said I wanted an epidural. You seem to give women unrealistic expectations.