"I am writing to thank the staff ..."

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I am writing to thank the staff at the Royal Free Hospital for the extraordinary care which my son and I received in May this year. After an unsuccessful labour he was born by emergency caesarean. Complications during delivery meant I spent two nights in the high dependency unit and then a further two nights on the labour ward.

The following things made a material difference to my experience and recovery:

1) Continuity of care: I was reassured because the same people were involved throughout and checked up on me regularly. In particular the midwife who looked after me during labour and afterwards on the high dependency unit, and the anaesthetist who provided anaesthetic during labour, c-section and after. Knowing the people looking after me by name brought familiarity and confidence for me and my family.

2) Care beyond the call of duty: the midwife stayed after her shift had ended to see me through the delivery; when I was unable to feed my son initially she helped me to express colostrum so that he wouldn’t need formula. In the labour ward, despite the heavy workload, another midwife helped me during the night to learn how to breast feed my son.

3) Considerate approach: because I was not particularly well it was important that my family could look after me, and in particular my son, during the day. Without being asked the staff on the labour ward filled other beds before those in my bay, which meant I was able to get some rest and finally to get to know my son.

4) Professionalism: during the delivery and afterwards my family and I felt we were receiving absolutely the best medical care possible. When I needed it I received round the clock care and such regular checks from the registrar, consultant, anaesthetist and paediatrician among others that we were confident that we could not have received better care anywhere else.

5) General culture: Almost all the interactions we had with people across the ward were positive – from the medical and nursing to the cleaning and catering staff. It was very clear that there was a consistent culture of professionalism combined with warmth and dedication and that everyone was pulling in the same direction.

I would be grateful if you would please pass on my sincere thanks and appreciation to your staff as well as congratulating them on building and maintaining such a great team.

What could be improved

The midwives on the labour ward were clearly very stretched, particularly at night time. Some of the night time midwives were not very helpful.

Story from NHS Choices

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