"Manners don't cost anything"

About: Wansbeck Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

Our first grandchild was born in Wansbeck Hospital this week. As a family, we have nothing but praise for staff on the delivery suite who couldn't do enough to look after our son and his partner. Making hot chocolate for an expectant father who doesn't drink tea and coffee is definitely way beyond the call of duty!

Their experience on the maternity ward was more mixed. There were some lovely staff but others were much less friendly and welcoming. We experienced a very brusque encounter with one staff member and our family told me this wasn't an isolated example.

We had traveled over 150 miles to see our grandson for the very first time. We had only seen him for half an hour because of the time it had taken us to get there. There was 15 minutes left of afternoon visiting time and a nurse approached the new mum's bed with a face like thunder. Her mother politely asked the nurse how things were. The nurse very abruptly said that she just needed to talk the new mum and wanted us to leave. Although disappointed, we immediately did as requested. When we returned to see them again next day, we were shocked to learn that after demanding we left, the nurse then didn't return to see our son's partner for over 20 minutes. So we could have stayed and shared extra precious time with our grandchild after all. The whole thing felt very rude and unnecessary.

To be fair to the nurse concerned when we returned the next day, she was a lot more friendly so perhaps she was just having a bad day. I understand everyone is busy and works under extreme pressure. However it's also important to see things from our perspective. This is a very exciting, special and joyous time for us as a family. This unfortunate interaction was very deflating in the circumstances. Imagine how it would have felt if the situation had been much less positive.

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Response from Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Annie Laverty

Firstly, I’d like to send my warmest congratulations on the arrival of your very first grandchild. What a wonderfully happy time this is for the whole family.

Having experienced the arrival of the first grandchild into our family a few years ago and living a long distance away, I truly understand how precious the time is for you with the new arrival especially in those first few weeks.

I am so sorry to hear that this very special time has been deflated somewhat by the attitude of a member our staff and I can understand how unnecessary the interruption felt to you. We would always want our patients and their families to feel that are in a compassionate and supportive environment, I am sorry that has not consistently been the case for you and the rest of your family.

This is important feedback and I will make sure that I share your experience with the team, I know that they will feel very disappointed and upset that your time with us has not been everything it should have been.

Thank you for sharing your story. Can I also wish you many, many years of joy with the very special little person that has just entered your lives.


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