"I have had a very mixed experience."

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary

What I liked

I gave birth to my baby at the RVI in late may 2011, and was readmitted to the ward 10 days later. The care I received throughout induction, labour and delivery were brilliant. The midwives, anesthetist and doctor were all very professional and caring, even when things were not going to plan.

When we were readmitted, I received great help from a breast feeding sister (I'm sorry I can't remember her name) and the medical team were very reassuring.

What could be improved

Once I was transferred to the post natal ward at 4am, I felt lost and didn't know what to do. I'm sure midwives did come and see me, but I only have memories of being in a lot of pain and being very tired, and not knowing what to do. I can't remember anyone advising regarding breast feeding, and by the time my partner came at 3pm, I was in tears and he took us home.

I can't help thinking that this experience led to the readmission, as breast feeding did not get off to a good start. Once readmitted, the treatment plan seemed to change with each new shift - nobody seemed to be telling us the same thing.

One minor quibble is the food - only once did I get the meal I had ordered - other times my tray had been given away to other patients, and there was sometimes nothing left for me, and no NHS snack box.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Royal Victoria Infirmary

First of all may we thank you for sharing your experience; we acknowledge your very kind comments in relation to your experience whilst giving birth.

We are saddened to receive the account of your care when you were admitted to the ward at 4am in the morning following the birth of your baby. It would be our usual practice to ensure that women receive adequate pain relief following the birth of their baby, so that they may recover and enjoy being a new mother. All our staff are trained using the UNICEFF baby friendly principals to support women with breastfeeding, this is to ensure that consistent advice is provided; I would like to apologise that you did not receive adequate support on this occasion and that the advice that you were given was inconsistent. I acknowledge that this may indeed have contributed to you having to be readmitted.

We would further apologise that you did not receive the meals that you ordered and that the snack fridge was not always filled.

Your feedback is important to us in order to improve our service and we will be advising the Postnatal Ward Sister and the Infant Feeding Coordinator of your experience, so that it may be highlighted to staff to try and ensure that this does not happen again. We would like to assure you that we believe that this is not the usual standard of care that we provide within the maternity services at Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation and would like to thank you for your comments.

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