"Awfully understaffed labour ward"

About: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital

Anything else?

I had the worst experience I could have wished for at the labour ward. They were so busy that I was sent home 3 times before being allowed to go onto the labour suite.

When I was in a labour room I was left for hours at a time with no one checking on me. The midwives were so stressed that one of them ripped her gloves off and threw them on the bed before walking off because I was in too much pain to bear an examination.

I had a 40 hour labour which resulted in a forceps delivery and I was denied an epidural despite asking for one over and over again because the anaesthetist was in theatre.

I believe my notes do not contain this information and just say i asked for 'pain relief'.

I've just tried to obtain my notes but there is a charge of £50!

Once I was moved to theatre the atmosphere changed completely and I was treated with respect and kindness.

On the ward, after I'd had my baby the midwives were much kinder and calmer even though it was still very, very busy.

I know the midwives were under a lot of pressure because I was told that they were sending people to Ashford to have their babies after I'd been admitted.

I feel sorry for them working under such stressful conditions but I'm also traumatised and feel humiliated by the experience.

People should be able to expect respect in these situations.

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Responses

Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Thank you for telling us about your experience and I am sorry that your experience was influenced by the pressure on staff on the labour suite. I can imagine that this was disappointing for you at such an important time as the birth of your baby. I am pleased that your experience was better in theatres and on the post natal ward. We are reviewing our staffing levels on the maternity unit in response to current increases in the birth rate. We will be aiming to give 1:1 care in labour which currently we can provide only part of the time.

If you would like to talk about your experience with our consultant midwife then I would be pleased to organise for you to talk by phone or in person. Please do contact me on Julie.pearce1@nhs.net

I hope you and your baby are progressing well

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