"Delivery team - fine. Ward team - awful."

About: Luton & Dunstable Hospital

What I liked

My labour experience on the delivery ward was fine in terms of the midwives who supported me - they were there throughout and rarely left the room.

What could be improved

Give patients full instructions as to what you want them to do

Don't assume your patients know the ins and outs of how the hospital works - inform them!

Answer the buzzer from patients within 5 minutes at least, especially if the patient has buzzed from the shower/toilet.

Anything else?

I do not always feel I was give full instructions. For example I was asked to pass urine into a bowl type thing that you put over the toilet seat. They never told me why I had to do this, so I just presumed it was to test something in my urine (as I had had to do at my midwife appts) and therefore only went a little in the container and then went normally on the loo. They then thought there was a problem, so I was put on a drip to keep me hydrated - my legs started to swell up due to the amount of fluid I was being pumped with, I was put on a catheter.

The unit was also having new windows put in, so i was wheeled round to a different room in the middle of labour - so much for creating a calm atmosphere for labour!

The worst experience I had was on ward - I ended up with a c-section so found it difficult to move. Again the lack of information was appalling. They brought me breakfast on the first morning but made no mention of the fact that I would have to get it myself the following morning - how was I to know? Whenever I rang the buzzer, they literally took on average 30 minutes to respond. A case in point would be that i was told to have a shower, so I undressed and tried to turn the shower on - nothing! Called for help but no one came - imagine if i had fallen over in there or something? It took 20 minutes for a student midwife to arrive, who then also could not operate the shower and had to ask someone else, who helpfully said 'turn it on and wait' (erm, yes! have tried that!).

When my baby was crying in the night, a midwife took him away and gave him a bottle - she decided he must be hungry (I was trying to establish breastfeeding). He took a lot of formula from her but threw it back up again anyway. The midwife was very nice but stank of cigarettes - having read somewhere that smokers can continue to breath out smoking 'fumes' for an hour after a cigarette, as a new mother i was concerned about it.

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Response from Luton & Dunstable Hospital

We are sorry to hear that your experience in 2010 was not a wholly positive one. Many improvements have been made to the Maternity wards since you had your baby which we hope would have addressed your comments. However, if you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact us via email at complaints.officer@ldh.nhs.uk or telephone the hospital on 0845 1270127 and ask for the Complaints Department to enable us to look into your specific experience.

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