"The postnatal ward desperately needs more staff to..."

About: The Whittington Hospital

What I liked

I recently gave birth to my daughter at the Whittington. Although I started in the birthing centre, which looked fantastic and spotless, I ended up in the labour ward. The labour ward was still nice and the majority of staff were pleasant and friendly, especially the midwife who gave me care during the day. The staff who performed my episiotomy were very competent and took time to clearly explain what they were going to do beforehand. One midwife on postnatal was very helpful and made a real effort to help me with feeding.

The services of the community midwife and sonographers leading up to the birth was fantastic.

What could be improved

The midwife in the birthing centre made three different attempts to take a blood sample from me and left me with bruises for weeks afterwards. She was very insistent that I had an epidural and I felt like I didn't have much of a choice whether to have one or not. It took two different anaesthetists and three attempts to get my epidural in. The night midwife had a terrible bedside manner and left me unattended for large periods of time whilst various monitors sounded alarms.

After the baby arrived, I was wheeled down to postnatal and as it was in the middle of the night my husband and mother had to leave. I had not been allowed to shower and was left alone with a screaming baby on my lap. I had barely slept or eaten for two days and was quite distressed. The midwives only checked on me when I buzzed them, they spent a few minutes trying to help me latch on unsuccessfully, then left me to figure it out. One even forcefully held my baby's head to my breast which left her very upset.

By 9am the next morning, I had still not been offered a shower and had to really plead to someone to attend to me and remove the drips etc so I could get cleaned up. As I could not move, I couldn't even replace my maternity towels so I was lying in pools of blood.

As there was only one paediatrician for the whole labour and postnatal ward, we had to wait until 10pm to get discharged and we were very lucky with that. I would have self discharged rather than stay another evening. Even then, the person who was supposed to do the hearing check on my daughter missed us so we had to do this in the community.

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Responses

Response from The Whittington Hospital

I was very sorry to hear about your experience in the Maternity Department. I have informed the department about your experience so that they can learn from it. This is certainly not the sort of experience that we would want any women to have and would be happy to discuss with your further what occurred and investigate any specific concerns you may have. If you would like to speak to someone about your experience please contact the PALS and Complaints Department on 020 7288 5551 on by email on whh-tr.whitthealthpals@nhs.net and they will be able to support you with this.

Yours

Cassie Williams

Head of Patient Experience

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