"A broken department"

About: Hereford County Hospital

I am a woman in her 40's with a first pregnancy expecting twins. I have been told I am high risk in 4 categories (with no explanation as to what these risks are!). I recently had my first appointment to see the consultant on the Women's Health Unit. My appointment was at 11 am and arrived at 10.50. At 12.15 I saw a mid-wife only to discover that notes from a previous appointment were not on the screen, blood tests taken 2 weeks ago had not been uploaded. Considering this is now a 'paperless' system and the patient no longer gets to carry around any notes with her, this made me feel very vulnerable. The midwife offered no support or any help of clinic value. When asked how long it would be until I saw the consultant I was told that I would probably have to wait another 1.5-2 hours which would mean a total wait time of over 3 hours! I said this was not acceptable as I was feeling particularly unwell with hyper-emesis. I was informed that they could page the Registrar to come back and see me. I finally saw the Registrar at 1.20. Because my notes were not all up to date they were struggling to answer some of my questions and eventually the consultant was brought in for 2 mins until his phone rang and he just left the room mid sentence never to be seen again. I cannot fault the Registrar who was personable and trying to do her job with limited information. However, this system is so completely broken. There appears to be no communication between community midwives and the WHU. Many times I have asked questions of these Community Midwives to be told they would get back to me and they never did and of course there is no number to call them on anymore. Expecting pregnant women to wait around for hours for a pre-arranged appointment is totally unacceptable especially when the level of care received after the wait is so below standard. I was not alone in the long wait and some women were there with their children trying to keep them occupied for hours. The only ray of light in all this was a support worker who managed to track down lost results and offered to print out my notes and a receptionist who could not have been more helpful, however their embarrassment and acceptance that this was a normal day made me very sad. This clinic has serious problems in communicating as a whole service and serious errors and omissions will occur. I have no faith or confidence in this service and am very concerned about the delivery of my children. I looked around for other clinics under the patients choice charter only to discover to my disappointment that maternity services are not included in this choice so I am stuck with a service that I have no faith in. This service desperately requires more clinical staff and it is clear to me, having been in other departments in the hospital, that cuts seem to be most dramatic here. It is not fair on some of the staff that are trying their hardest with poor support and limited resources or patients.

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Response from Hereford County Hospital

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry that you had a negative experience in our womens health clinic. The womens health department have been made aware of your feedback and would like to meet with you so they can make positive improvements based on your experience. We would encourage you to please contact our Patient Experience Team on 01432 372986

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