"Treatment in EPU"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I attended The Early Pregnancy Unit at Redhill hospital on the advice of my local GP, this was mid September after I started bleeding.

I had a scan and waited for some time before a very kind and patient nurse sat down with me to explain the 3 options that they were considering and what would happen next. I was given an information leaflet and asked to go for a blood test. I did not see or speak to a doctor as I was told that no one was available. That was okay as I know that hospitals can be busy.

I did a follow up blood test 48 hours later and rang for results. All in all I had 2 scans and 4 blood test and repeatedly was told 'we can't rule out ectopic'. Only once did I speak to a doctor on the phone and still was given no reassurance as what was going on. This was my first pregnancy and very scary for me and no one at the hospital (except the kind nurse on the first day) seemed to consider how I must be feeling.

Each time I rang for results I was told that no doctor was available and they would ring me back, but they didn't. When I attended the hospital for my third blood test I was asked if anyone had spoken to me about my results. I said no and a lady brought my sheet over to show me my hormone levels. That was fine but it meant nothing to me and she wasn't able to explain, only saying hasn't a doctor spoken to you.

The first time I spoke to a doctor was 2 weeks after I first attended hospital with a suspected miscarriage. And again the doctor could only say 'we can't rule out ectopic' He asked me to come in for another blood test and I told him that I was flying abroad in 2 days to which he said 'I wouldn't advise that'. I was so upset and worried I didn't know what to do. I was getting absolutely no information except what I felt was unnecessary comments said to scare me.

When I first went into EPU they estimated I was 6/7 weeks pregnant. At the time I spoke to this doctor I would have been 8/9. I thought it was ridiculous to keep saying 'we can't rule out ectopic' when I would have been in severe pain. They kept asking me if I was in pain and when I said no didn't seem to believe me.

Apart from my personal upset I also witnessed a full waiting room of ladies on a Sunday morning puzzled how they had been told they must attend for a blood test and must not be any later than 7:45am (and as a result people arrive much earlier to make sure they aren't late). But after 2 long waits on an early Sunday morning knew that this was misleading as the nurse never appeared before 8:15am. I don't see why people are being told this when it is unnecessary.

I also witnessed, whilst waiting for my second scan, a lady who walked into the waiting room who clearly had nothing on except a gown open at the back. I could see her bottom and what was a bloody wad of cloth that she was holding up against herself. I was quite disgusted that she was treated in such an undignified way!

My first scan revealed a cyst of 5cm and I was told at the second to go back for a scan in 6 weeks as they needed to keep an eye on me. The 6 weeks was due at the end of November. I expected a letter but didn't receive anything so last week made 6 calls and spoke to 3 departments before I was told that there was no referral note and I had to be referred by my doctor.

I can't say I'm surprised when all the sonographer seemed concerned with (and the nurse who I found extremely rude) was going to lunch. Now I'm being told I have to go back to my doctor to get an appointment which I feel is a complete waste of time. I will be wasting my own time, the doctors time and taking up an appointment that someone else could have all because someone at the hospital didn't do their job properly.

And it took 6 calls and 3 departments to find this out. I rang twice before getting through to EPU (Brockham ward) to be told I need to speak to Gynae. I then rang Gynae to have the person answer (brockham ward) and be told I need diagnostic imaging. I rang diagnostic imaging to be told there is no note on my file. Why, when I have been told that I have a large cyst, is this even questioned? I feel like I'm having to ask my parent for permission to follow the advice I have been given.

The care I have received has been appalling, and quite frankly the "hospital values" that I read whilst waiting for a scan felt like a joke. I never wish to visit your hospital again and I will ask to be referred elsewhere.

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Response from Ruth Bender Atik, National Director, The Miscarriage Association

What a frightening and frustrating time you have had, Sarah. I'm glad you had the courage to post your experience here and that it will help the hospital plan services better so that women get the clear communication they need at a difficult and distressing time.

Best wishes

Ruth Bender Atik

The Miscarriage Association

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Response from Eloise Clarke, Communications Manager, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear 'Sarah 1977'

I'm really sorry to read your comment. We would really like the opportunity to talk to you about your experience at our hospital - it sounds like you have not had a good experience so far and we are really sorry about that. I have raised your comments with the Matron and she would really like to discuss this. Please can you contact me with your contact telephone number so I can pass it to the matron - Lynda Filby.


Eloise Clarke



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