"We we at the maternity unit for ..."

About: West Suffolk Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

We we at the maternity unit for the birth of our second child. Overall the care was very good. It was late at night and once the staff had got involved then they were extremely professional on the delivery suite.

When we came to leave they were really efficient and helpful; my wife does not really like being in hospital and was keen to escape!

What could be improved

Overall the experience was one of very professional but a focus on process rather than on the patient. Our first was born at Harrogate which was much more patient focussed whilst maintaining the professionalism. West Suffolk has an air of the old fashioned NHS about it where patients are a little bit of an inconvenience particularly to the admin staff but there was a little bit from the clinical staff.

On arrival at the delivery suite we were popped straight into a room without any more than a perfunctory you are in here. We were then left for around 20 mins with very short contractions - no real explanation or introduction to people or facilities. My wife was then examined and the mid-wife disappeared again for another 20 mins or so. Once she came back, she was much more involved and my wife was much happier. The care was spot on from that point on up to the move through to the ward.

I would caution all partners that the admin staff on the maternity ward were much more interested in their admin than the people using the ward and they have rather old fashioned visiting rules. May be difficult for birth of first child or if the mother needs lots of emotional support. I was made to feel distinctly unwelcome by the staff which is unacceptable and was in stark contrast to our experience at Harrogate who couldn't have been more helpful.

Anything else?

Car parking is expensive and if you have been there for a long labour (>12 hours) then expect to be hammered for over £10. If mother and baby are in for a few days then expect to pay £2ish every time for even a short visit. During busy periods (the day!) parking is at a premium.

Overall - very professional but staff somewhat aloof.

Story from NHS Choices

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