"Maternity services"

About: The Whittington Hospital

Anything else?

After giving birth to my first baby unexpectedly at home, I was taken to the Whittington for postnatal care. Some of the staff, notably one of the labour ward midwives and the obstetric surgery team, were excellent. Unfortunately, the rest of my experience was terrible. There were far too many pregnant and postnatal women for the hospital's maternity service to deal with. On arrival at the hospital I was greeted by an angry midwife who, rather than asking how my baby and I were doing after such a dramatic birth, berated me for not being able to tell her precisely how much blood I had lost at home. My husband, newborn and I were then left alone in a curtained area for over an hour without explanation or any offers of water, food or medication. After a few hours I was finally seen and then had to wait for over 7 hours to get stitches. Because of the delay, I ended up having to spend the night at the hospital and because it was so full my baby and I were put on the antenatal ward in a very small curtained area next to women in labour. Needless to say we had a sleepless and emotional night! I had to remind staff repeatedly to give me my medication on time, and I had to beg to have my catheter and cannula removed (both of which could have been taken out many hours earlier). I was given almost no information throughout my stay, and if I had not threatened to walk out of the hospital the following evening my baby and I would have had to spend another night on the antenatal ward, just because of delays. It was an awful experience. In retrospect I am glad that my baby decided to arrive at home, saving us having to deal with the Whittington during the birth, and if I have another baby I will be choosing a different hospital. Although not all of the staff were as helpful or kind as they should have been, the main fault lies with the fact that the hospital is massively overstretched and underfunded. It provides an essential service to the local community and needs huge investment to enable it to cope with local demand.

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Response from The Whittington Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. I am so sorry that your experience was not more positive. It does sound like you attended at a particularly busy time but waiting for seven hours for stitches is not acceptable and neither are the other experiences you describe. I have forwarded your comments to the Directors of the Women, Children's and Families division and to the maternity matrons so that they can reflect on what occurred. If you would like us to look at these concerns further and formally investigate what occurred when you came to the hospital please do not hesitate to contact the PALS and Complaints Department on 020 7288 5551 or by email at whh-tr.whitthealthpals@nhs.net.

Yours sincerely

Cassie Williams

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