"The staff on the delivery ward ..."

About: Royal Oldham Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

The staff on the delivery ward were excellent and I can't praise them enough- midwives and doctors alike. They were friendly, explained everything clearly taking into account the situation. When I was moved to Maternity 1 ward, again the midwives were great, but clearly understaffed. Two midwives were on duty covering a ward with around 36 beds.

What could be improved

The staffing levels on the Maternity Ward. As the midwives were so busy, you felt reluctent to ask for help or even ask questions, which as a first time mum made me feel rather alone and overwhelmed. Also one of the Nursing Assistants was not going to allow my husband to visit despite it being 10 mins after visiting time started. Fortunately one of the midwives stepped in and made her see sense then told him where my bed was.

Anything else?

A new maternity unit is all well and good, but the trust need to ensure that this is properly staffed. Despite the excellent midwives I would be reluctant to chose this trust if I had another child until the staffing levels are improved and more importantly, are safe

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Oldham Hospital

We're glad to hear of your baby's birth but sorry to hear that you felt the service was understaffed and left you feeling overwhelmed.

We would assure you that we never take in more women than can be safely cared for.

Safety for mothers and babies is the top priority for everyone.

Staffing levels for all our Trust's units are compared against established standards to determine how many women can be cared for at any one time. If a unit reaches capacity then it will close to new arrivals.

This is not a decision made lightly. It involves the consultant agreeing the situation with the senior midwife and manager in charge. It causes great inconvenience to women told they have to go to another hospital, but we do it on the basis of safety, and we cannot compromise that. When this step is taken we constantly review the situation so that we open to new arrivals when it is safe to do so.

Oldham's new, larger unit will include additional staff. A major benefit should be that it will make it easier to respond flexibly to busy periods.

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