"Pre-eclampsia and aftercare"

About: St Peter's Hospital / Maternity St Peter's Hospital / Paediatrics Surrey and Sussex

(as the patient),

Was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at 31 weeks pregnant. My antenatal care was fantastic- ended up having a crash section as my PET was dangerous and my and baby's heart rates became critical. Baby delivered at 32 weeks - spent 4 weeks on NICU where the team were simply amazing and baby is now fine.

However I found my post care at ASPH Joan Booker ward horrendous. I was placed back on a ward with pregnant ladies when my baby was in intensive care even though there were side rooms available. I was not given painkillers when I repeatedly requested them. I was discharged after 3 days with a pack of beta blockers and told to see my GP for my 6 week check at the appropriate time.

However I started feeling strange last week. My baby is now 5 weeks old. I went to my GP who was disgusted as apparently I should have had PET checks for two weeks from my midwife. No one ever contacted or came to see me. Now I have post partum pre-eclampsia and my GP is worried I may have long lasting damage.

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Response from Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are pleased to hear that your experiences of our antenatal and NICU services was so good, especially during such a traumatic time for you and your baby, and that your baby is now doing well. However, we are disappointed and concerned to hear that your experience of our post-natal ward was poor.

Whilst we appreciate it is very difficult for mothers with babies going to NICU, all women (following a caesarean section) will need to be initially cared for in the dedicated ward bay following surgery. This is for safety reasons and so close observations can be carried out. However, we endeavour to move women in your situation to their own room as quickly as possible once they are stable and a side room is available. We apologise if you felt there was a unnecessary delay in this taking place.

Without knowing the full details of when you stayed with us it is difficult to comment, but we have made recent improvements to distributing pain killers on the ward. We now run four hourly drug rounds and if a woman misses the round for any reason (such as visiting their baby in NICU) they can ask their nominated named midwife to give the medication separately. We hope this will improve the process for women in our care and ensure that everyone on the ward receives painkillers in a timely way.

Again, it is difficult to comment specifically without reviewing your notes, but we are sorry the care you received after discharge was not better planned. Sometimes if a woman is visiting her baby in NICU and unlikely to be at home for the community midwife to visit for postnatal checks, we will arrange for the follow-up appointments to take place on Joan Booker Ward instead. Usually we would ‘handover’ the care of women who have experienced high blood pressure (as part of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy) to their GP two weeks after discharge and any further checks would take place through the GP surgery.

Overall, we are sorry that some aspects of the care we provided fell short and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss everything with you in more detail. If you are willing to do so then please contact me directly.

Kind regards

Deborah Parkinson, Lead Midwife

01932 722392

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