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"Standard of care at the Barratt Maternity home"

About: Northampton General Hospital (Acute)

(as the patient),

I recently had a c-section for twins at the Barratt maternity home, Northampton. The standard of care on the labour ward was excellent. The nurses were friendly and explained everything that was happening and kept me calm during the operation. After the section I was moved to HDU (high dependency unit) for 6 hours. Again the care was excellent although I was disappointed not to be given anything to eat as I had been nil by mouth since midnight.

At 17:30 I was moved onto Balmoral ward. I was not given any information about the ward, the facilities or how to contact anybody.

I was in a single room and the bed was terribly uncomfortable. Unlike the beds in the HDU unit the ones on the ward do not lift up or down at the head end. Therefore I spent the next 3 days with the headrest permanently up and very uncomfortable. I had missed dinner as it is served very early (16.30) and was not offered anything to eat again. Luckily my husband was able to pop to the shop and pick me up a sandwich, otherwise I would not have eaten for over 24 hours. When I was fed, the food was awful – my advice is, take your own. Breakfast was served at 7:30am and then lunch at 11:30. Stick to the sandwiches as the hot meals are not hot, not fresh and not nice! I ordered turkey one day and it was supposed to be served with vegetables and gravy. The vegetables were 1 potato and 5 carrots and the gravy never arrived!

The nurses on the ward are nice - just extremely busy. As I had just had twins and was bed bound due to my catheter, I had expected that the nurses would come frequently to check I was okay, but I only saw a nurse on 2 occasions that evening. My husband was told to leave at 10pm and was not allowed back on the ward until 10am. This seems ridiculous when you have had twins, who need changing and feeding and yet you are not supposed to move from the bed. There was only one nurse and one health care assistant available on the entire ward each night so asking for help was pointless as they simply did not have the time to spare. I asked to be shown how to bath my babies one morning and was told that they did not have time and someone would show me later – no-one came back and I left hospital without being shown bathing, feeding, changing or any standard baby care procedures that my mother was shown when she had her children in the 1970s!

Overall, although I did not have a bad experience - I would say that the standard of care outside of the labour ward is pretty dismal. This is not due directly to the staff who all work extremely hard – it is simply due to the lack of staff and the fact that the midwifes are not able to spend time with the patients due to the sheer numbers.

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