"Need to sort out the antenatal phone lines"

About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital

I am now 39 weeks pregnant and being followed a QCH and also gave birth to my first son 2 years ago in the same hospital. I had an overall good experience during my first pregnancy, there were a number of complications during delivery but I always felt confident with the way the team in charge handled everything. However this time I have to say the way I was treated mainly by the receptionists and on the telephone was unacceptable. The phone number for antenatal appointment is never available. You spend hours on hold being told "you are second in line" or "you are first in line" but turns out the only reason why you are progressing down he line is because people before you get discouraged and hang up! Seriously when you've been waiting 45 minutes and you're first in line it is quite clear there is no on at the other end, or how long does it take to book someone in to see the midwife?! At 36 weeks pregnant and having tried in vain to book my next apt for 3 entire days, I had to hop in my car, pay parking fees at the hospital (!) and go directly to the front desk to book my appointment! Then it was another 10 minutes wait, as the receptionist was nowhere to be found...! When I asked her - very politely might I say - if they were having any troubles with the phone lines, she looked up at me, stared for a couple of seconds and....just said nothing! No apologies, nothing...I mean, I have better things to do than go all the way to the hospital at 36 weeks just to book an appointment! I saw a midwife the other day who told me that I'm not the first person to complain... And I can see on this thread that this is indeed the case! This is clearly unacceptable and letting the hospital down, I hope they do something to sort it out quickly... Not for me as I'm not planning for another baby but for the ladies after me...

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Response from Queen Charlotte's Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is concerned to read of your experience of antenatal services at QCCH. We apologise wholeheartedly regarding any distress that was caused. In November we began realigning our antenatal services. This was as a result of feedback from women regarding their dissatisfaction with seeing different midwives during their antenatal care, not getting to know and trust one midwife, and not having a named midwife to refer to if they have any concerns or queries. Our new services comprise of community based services in children’s centres for women who live in our catchment area, and hospital based midwifery antenatal clinics for women outside of our community catchment area. Doctors clinics are all held in the hospital. Since November we have had a steady roll out of these services, the final phase being the closure of a satellite hospital based clinic in Woodfield road, and the final launch of a Midwifery Group Practice at the end of March. This has meant that some of our clinics and appointments have been disorganised due to needing to change the location of so many appointments in a relatively short space of time, putting strain on our administration systems. Updated information has now been put on the Trust website and again we apologise for the poor service you have reported.

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