"Maternity assessment unit"

About: Royal Stoke University Hospital / Maternity care

(as a service user),

At 4pm we rang our local maternity Department at Stafford to state that we were experiencing reduced foetal movements. We were then advised to contact uhnm. After two unsuccessful attempts to call the emergency number (first time rang out, second time it was hung up) we rang Stafford again who phoned forward on our behalf. 

On arriving at the mau the poor service continued. We rang the buzzer on the door four times all of which were ignored. After ten minutes of waiting we were told we could walk straight it. 

At the desk we were not greeted and made to wait for a good ten minutes before being spoken too. During the booking in process the receptionist carried on talking to other members of staff and barely acknowledging what we were saying or asking. 

We were then told to wait in a corridor. How anyone can describe this area as a waiting room is beyond me. There is a lack of seats, the seats are uncomfortable and not adequate for long waits and you are disjointed from the mau and therefore you are left with no updates, no staff to speak too while watching proud parents be wheeled past you while we are left agonising about the future of our child. 

I have now been in this waiting room for nearly 4 hours and we have still not been seen by a midwife. To compound this frustration we have just been informed that the next process is in fact triage. What is there to triage we told you the issue some four hours ago and therefore you know what is required. 

I would urge the management of this unit to look at facilities at other hospitals. When we had similar concerns with our daughter we went to another MAU and within ten minutes of being there my wife was being assessed and hooked up to a heart beat monitor. Within 40 minutes we had been given the reassurance required and sent home. 

This unit has been shambolic. 

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The rest of the stay improved. Once we were finally seen by the midwife after a 7 hour wait, the care received was very good and after 30 minutes of monitoring on the ccg we were sent home.

My annoyance was that my experience of other hospitals is that when mothers attend the hospital complaining of reduced foetal movement they are immediately put onto the sonic aid machines and traces recorded. After 30 mins or so these patients are provided with reassurance and sent on their way.

However at stoke they did not do that they just sent everyone into a corridor and we were made to wait but were not provided with any information on how long we would have to wait.

Through talking to other people in the queue (9 people) the majority of people were there due to concerns on reduced foetal movement. If a similar approach to other hospitals was implemented 30 per cent of patients would have been seen within the hour.

The mau was itself was staffed with one consultant, one matron, two midwifes and a healthcare assistant. Yet it took 7 hours to see 9 patients. The ward itself wasn’t even busy. The room that we were eventually put in had 4 beds and only 2 were in use. In the identical room opposite the room was not in use.

After a successful trace we were then sent home and told to return in the morning for a scan. The performance the following day was excellent and within 1 hour we had been scanned and had a consultation with the midwife.

However what I could not understand is why the ultrasound could not have been done the day before. This facility is in the mau but was not used and not offered to us. It’s important to note that when we arrived at 4pm the main ultrasound facility in the women’s department was still open.

Therefore why couldn’t mau staff send patients for a scan while they waited for the ccg.

For me the issue at mau is not due to staffing it is due to no organisation and no communication. All the services required are readily available but rather than taking advantage of these the mau act in seemingly isolation and do not seem to use resources efficiently.

Please also note that when we told one midwife on the following day of our issues she confirmed that she also has problems contacting the mau and stated the phone often rings out. Therefore there is an issue on the reception.

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