"Some concerns about maternity care of my sister-in-law"

About: Dewsbury & District Hospital / Maternity care

(as a relative),

This comment is purely based on my opinion of what I saw from my sister-in-law's treatment and the maternity unit itself.

I gave birth myself 3 months ago in a Kirklees hospital which was fantastic. I was originally thinking of going to Dewsbury however two health professionals I spoke to during my pregnancy advised me not to as they were understaffed and the unit itself was run down. A friend of mine was also disappointed with her care on the unit last year.

Anyway my sister-in-law chose Dewsbury as it was close to home, so where shall I start? She was admitted on night one with slightly high blood pressure which she was told was just caused by the pain, this soon dropped and stayed normal so after 12 hours her mum asked if she could go in the birthing pool which was in her birth plan. The response from the midwife was 'I don't think that would be a good idea' in a sarcastic tone, no further explanation was offered.

So she stayed in the delivery suite and was told if she hadn't made further progress by lunchtime she would go to the ward, and was told her mum 'birthing partner' would have to go home. She was upset about this and worried as being a young first time mum she really wanted someone with her, this put unnecessary stress on her to 'get things moving'.

By lunch she hadn't made further progress so was carted off to the ward. She was not allowed gas and air which she was previously using and at 8pm her mum was told to leave. I then received text messages from my sister-in-law very upset that she was in pain and alone, she had no other pain relief than co-codomol. I advised her to speak to a midwife as in this situation maybe she could go back to the delivery suite where her mum could stay and she could have pain relief (please note that the delivery suite was not busy and had plenty of space!)

She was then told she could only go down when progress was made and her mum would be called back (mum had no transport and was relying on taxis to get back and forth).

She was also told that she would be examined before her mum went home at 8pm, however this didn't happen and she waited over an hour until a midwife found her crying due to the pain and offered to examine her.

She was eventually sent back to the labour suite 3 hours later, so her mum had to come straight back. During this stage of the labour my sister-in-law was satisfied with the care and the baby was born later that day.

Later that evening me and my partner visited with our son. Upon pressing the buzzer we were asked 'who does that baby belong to'? We replied 'ours', we were then abruptly told he could not come in and we would have to wait outside and take it in turns, again no further explanation given. We don't live locally and had already paid the extortionate parking charge so I went in and left my child with his dad.

After seeing my sister-in-law and her new baby I asked a midwife why he wasn't allowed in as Huddersfield and Halifax hospitals both allow family members children in. I was told, again in a sarcastic manner, that it was policy and was basically due to infection control. I found her to be very rude.

I was in the room for 5 mins when my sister-in-law was advised she was moving to the ward. She was in a wheelchair so I asked if she wanted to cradle the baby on her lap. I was quickly told no by a nurse, and that it was against health and safety. So we helped her with her things and went up to the ward.

My partner was asked straight away if he was her partner to which he obviously advised no, we were then told there were already three visitors in that room so we would have to 'kick them out'. At this point we were confused as we were her only visitors. On walking in we found it was a shared room with three beds and the three people in there were visitors of the patient next to her. So it was basically 3 visitors in the entire room? That's ridiculous!

My sister-in-law's mum was again asked to leave at 8pm, again leaving her alone and worried. I will say however the ward staff seemed friendly and did ask if she needed anything.

Now the hospital itself I found to be very run down and quite depressing. When I walked into the room I saw blood on the floor which had been there 6 hours! My sister-in-law was too hot on the ward and wanted a fan, my partner went to ask but was told she could only have one in a single room as they will "circulate germs", so what was the alternative? You can't open the window as there are other patients so maybe it would have been nice to offer her one of the many free single rooms?

The downstairs shop does not offer a debit card facility, nor is there a cash machine, which isn't good when you have no change! The car parking is a shocking £2.60 for two hours again using the old fashioned coin meters.

On leaving, my son needed changing, however there were no baby change facilities. We also saw dirty bags of rubbish inside the main entrance to the building.

Finally I go back to the point of my son not being allowed in. The previous day I had visited with my son and was allowed in without problem, so either they did not follow their own rules or the midwives I later encountered were just being picky. There is no sign to advise they can't come in, and the patient next to her on the ward had a child visitor.

Overall the hospital is run down and not as clean as it should be, some of the staff were rude and I felt there was no compassion to my sister-in-law's situation. There were many free rooms in the delivery suite and ward yet these were not offered, even though she really needed her mum there.

I would not recommend Dewsbury. Huddersfield birth centre is a relaxed and excellent facility without these silly rules that Dewsbury uses.

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Response from Dewsbury & District Hospital

We would be pleased to arrange for this episode of care to be investigated if the patient would like to contact us directly. The email address is pals@midyorks.nhs.uk

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