"Appalling experience in TRIAGE of delivery unit"

About: St Mary's Hospital (Manchester)

All I can say is that I am extremely relieved I have had an opportunity to see the delivery unit ahead of my birth to know this is NOT a delivery unit I would recommend for myself or anyone else. Having had fantastic experiences in three other departments within the same hospital, I was thoroughly unprepared and highly dissatisfied with the appalling service I received in triage on the delivery unit. I felt for the dignity too of the poor women who had just given birth. They were wheeled from their rooms in an open corridor, where other patients could see them. I also saw a door left open in the delivery unit with just the curtain drawn. Not something I would appreciate during labour. I, and other women, were kept waiting in a small, stuffy waiting room in the triage. There were only two midwives on duty, who had to attend many women and answer the phone, without any support from support workers or other midwives. I was told the wait would be 1 - 1.5 hours after an already 35 minute wait. The two midwives just seemed to be hopping between two women. Us in the waiting room seemed forgotten about. We were only called in when we actually walked into the office and asked how long the waiting time would be. I was treated with complete disrespect and a total lack of consideration. The midwives I saw (in triage) had the typical attitude of staff in a delivery unit - ie: confident in taking advantage of the patients in their charge. I even overhead one of the midwives saying to the other that she refuses to attend to a particular women! In order to improve the service at the triage of the delivery unit, I would suggest the staff are more controlled in terms of their treatment of patients. The attitude I met was highly unacceptable and reflects either poor management, or management by a labour ward manager who has an equally unacceptable approach to the patients. I appreciate the fantastic service I have received within the other departments in St Marys hospital. I suggest that serious action is taken to ensure this department meets at least the same standard.

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Response from Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to learn that you had such a poor experience on Triage. It is important to us that comments are heard and seen as an opportunity provided to the service to make changes and improvements wherever possible.

The doors for the delivery rooms should be kept closed when the rooms are occupied in order to provide privacy and also to maintain dignity and I am saddened to hear that this was not evident on the day you attended the unit.

We use wheelchairs to transfer the women between areas following birth but the expectation is that they are appropriately covered and dignity is maintained. We are undertaking a lot of work within the triage department and have appointed a team leader with a dedicated core team who are keen to improve standards. I appreciate that the waiting area is very cramped and we are working with the transformation team and estates to improve the environment and reduce waiting times. Staff have also been involved in the work that CMFT is undertaking in line with values and beliefs and improving the patient experience so your feedback is very disappointing and we will continue to improve how we care for women and their families in this area. I apologise that whilst these changes are too late to be of benefit to you, the newly appointed team leader will ensure your issues are raised within the triage team so that others do not have the same experience.

The Patient Experience Team

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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