"Satisfied. staff are friendly and aftercare was..."

About: Northwick Park Hospital

What I liked

My wife had given birth to twins in April by C-section. In May, she suddenly started to get chest pains. We called the ambulance who arrived promptly, carried out their checks and said she would need to be taken to A&E. Time was allowed to make arrangements for the twins who were to be left at home. Wife was taken straight in, allocated a bed and blood tests were carried out straight away. Wife was told she would also need an x-ray. The ward that my wife was admitted to after the x-ray was clean, not overcrowded and the staff were helpful. My wife stayed overnight and she said the level of care was brilliant. Meals were provided promptly and staff gave her the privacy to express her milk. Medicine/injections were arranged with the pharmacy in an efficient manner. We were told realistically that they would be ready in a couple of hours and its better if we go home and I come back to collect. I would rather this option be told to wait at hospital. Staff were open and honest.

What could be improved

When we got to the hospital at approx 11.55pm, we waited at least 2-3 hours, with hardly any updates on my wifes situation after she had the blood tests. We were told when she was taken to A&E that she will have to go for a chest xray and then a decision will be made. I kept having to find staff members to find out how long we will be waiting and was always told "your next" or "we have had another emergency".

Also as my wife was breastfeeding, she needed to express her milk, as obviously she left the twins at home and need to express the milk via a pump. I asked a nurse in A&E who said they do not have any equipment to express and that she will phone the maternity department to arrange bottles so that my wife can "squeeze her milk out". After 25 minutes, the nurse came and told me that I would have to walk over to the maternity dept and collect the bottles. I thought this was unprofessional that a staff member could not bring the bottles to A&E for me. I then had to undertake the long walk to the Maternity Dept. I was very anxious and worried about leaving my wife alone, but I had to walk over.

When I got to the maternity dept, I buzzed and gave my details. I was then told they would have to confirm with the A&E nurse. I waited another 10 minutes whilst these checks were made. As the midwife came out, I asked her if she has equipment that my wife can use to express. The midwife said that there is only one pump in the whole of the maternity dept (which I found very hard to beleive) and that it cannot be taken out of the maternity dept. The midwife provided 6 bottles. When I got back to A&E, my wife was not in her bed. I was then told she has been taken for an X-ray. Luckily for my wife and I, we actually had our own pump at home. I quickly drove home, got the pump and my wife was able to express.

Anything else?

If I did not have a pump for my wife to express milk at home, my wife would have been in an very uncomfortable position of trying to express her milk.

I feel there should be better communication between the maternity dept and the A&E dept. I also feel there should be equipment available for mothers to use should situations arise as in the case of my wife.

Upon my wifes release a day later, she was told she woul need to take injections for 3 days. I asked the nurse if somebody could come home and do this for my wife. He said (very unconvicingly) "yea that can be sorted out" and left it at that. It was only because I said to him I will not leave until I am told a) someone can come home to inject my wife or b) nobody can come. He then said that he will phone me later that day to confirm someone will come. Very reluctantly, I said this was fine. We did receive a call and the aftercare of somebody visiting the house to inject my wife was superb.

All in all, it was a very satisfying experience at Northwick Park. It is just unfortunate that we exprienced these minor niggles regarding my wife being able to express her milk and the lack of updates from staff.

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Response from Northwick Park Hospital

We were sorry to learn that, whilst you and your wife generally had a very satisfying experience at Northwick Park Hospital, there were some aspects of the service and care provided which caused you concern. Your feedback will be passed to the staff in the A&E Department and the Maternity Department so that they can take appropriate action.

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