"The post natal gynecology consultant ..."

About: The Whittington Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

The post natal gynecology consultant care (i.e., 6 weeks post delivery) was excellent, and actually began to resolve some of the issues I had encountered and develop a treatment plan for me.

Although the antenatal ward was filthy, the kitchen area for preparing baby formula was spotless.

What could be improved

I gave birth at the Whittington. Worst experience of my life. Prenatal care was dreadful. On going into labour, my case notes were ignored, doctors and midwifes did not communicate, delivery was dangerously mishandled, midwife tried to deny pain relief. Luckily, baby and I lived, which is the best you can hope for, I suppose.

Post natal care was utterly appalling. The ratio of women and babies to midwives on the antenatal ward was so low that it was very dangerous. Women were denied pain relief required, doctors were paged but did not show up.

Anything else?

I believe that the maternity services at the Whittington were exposed on "Dispatches" a short time after my experience, and some services have been improved - for example, I understand that midwife to patient ratios are no longer as dangerous.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Whittington Hospital

We are sorry that you were so upset by your time at the Whittington.

Since your time here, the maternity wards have all been deep cleaned over the last three months and new blinds have been installed to improve the environment. The postnatal ward has moved to a bigger ward with more privacy and a more conducive environment for mother and baby. One of the antenatal wards has also been relocated to an improved environment and the maternity day unit has been relocated to a larger facility with an adjacent discharge lounge.

You are right that the staffing levels have also increased with 19 extra midwifery posts in the last 18 months We have increased the medical staff taking on an extra consultant and two middle grade doctors. We have also recruited housekeepers for the postnatal and labour wards to keep the areas clean and have taken on specialist infant feeding co-ordinator to support mothers who are breast feeding.

We are currently building a five bedded Midwifery led Birthing unit due to open in April 09

All complaints and incidents are reviewed and discussed with staff to improve the care provided. All staff are encouraged to complete incident forms about staffing shortages and complex cases so we can monitor the standard of care and patient safety. We encourage women to raise any issues whilst in hospital so we can address concerns immediately.

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