"Left to sit on a chair for hours after giving birth "

About: Stafford Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

First baby, wonderful pregnancy but under consultant care due to possibility of genetic nerve condition in baby. During pregnancy we were told that our baby would be checked by doctors on birth but we did not see one for 2 days as we were constantly told that they were 'too busy'. A large number of the staff I saw openly moaned about how 'manic' the ward was that night and how understaffed they were. I was given every excuse in the book as to why I had not been seen and was snapped at several times by different midwives when I asked questions.

My bed was not changed during my entire stay. I was given a tiny disposable cup to drink (the water I had to keep fetching myself) which was not cleaned or changed during the whole stay either.

When we did see the Doctor, who I will not name here, handled our baby so roughly that the doctor caused his cord stump to bleed, the doctor put my baby back in the cot with my babies head bumped against the side and put a nappy that I had told her was soiled back on gain. The doctor then tried to write in my notes that I had caused the bleeding to my babies abdomen when several members of my family had witnessed the rough handling knock the wound. We then had to stay in hospital for several more hours to monitor the blood loss.

When I arrived in hospital at around 9am having had my waters break at home I was monitored and sent to the canteen to wait a while as baby's heartbeat was erratic. Returned back and all was fine. Went home. Called a few hours later to come back in and told to wait longer as I was 'still polite'. Called back around 30 minutes later as contractions were now very strong. Admitted and led to a room to wait on our own for a few hours. Student midwife (who was one of the only members of staff who had a caring and attentive nature) popped in every now and again to check on me.

Saw a midwife who said I was coping well but I knew I had to push. Dismissed my instincts and said I didn't really know as this was first baby. Left alone again. Husband had to run out into the corridors and search for someone who we had to ask to examine me as still, no one believed me. I was fully dilated and was told that as I really did need to push I could not have the water birth that I wanted. Had to give birth in an unnatural on-my-back position. Once I had had my baby and was stitched the bed was stripped and disinfected and was wet with cleaning products when I came back from the bathroom. I was made to sit on a chair from this time until around 2. 30 in the morning as my midwife had been too busy to do my paperwork and I was told I couldn't have a bed until it was done.

I asked to be allowed to just walk to the ward but told to just stay where I was. I was eventually apologised to, but by this point I was falling asleep in the chair, as was my husband. I could not establish breastfeeding- a fact that I attribute to being sat in an uncomfortable chair, unable to have significant skin contact with my baby for hours on end due to needless admin and excuses.

I would not recommend Stafford Hospital Maternity Unit to anyone, whether for their first baby or not. I certainly would never return to the Unit and asked for all of my postnatal and baby checks to be carried out elsewhere.

I would not extend our family further in the future if it meant being under the 'care' of this Unit. I feel very sorry indeed for the dedicated staff that work there who are having to battle with a few that are undoubtedly unsuited to any kind of caring profession.

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Response from Head of Patient Experience, Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

Dear "Staffordnewmummy"

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby. I am sorry to hear that you were dissatisfied with our delivery and post natal maternity services and apologise for the fact that your experience was poor.

We really try hard to improve our services based on the comments we receive from our patients.

We would like the opportunity to discuss your experiences more fully and to apologise in person. I would appreciate it if you would be willing to contact Anne Mellor, the Head of Midwifery Services to enable this. Anne's number is 01785 257731 extension 4823.

Kind Regards

Angela Grocott

Head of Patient Experience

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