"This hospital is too busy if you're pregnant Avoid"

About: St Thomas' Hospital (London)

Firstly all the staff we came in contact with were really lovely but there is not enough staff or room in this hospital..if you are looking on here to decide which hospital is best to have your baby id say please try and find another hospital that isnt in central London. They have excellent facilities & technology but just know that you will be taking the risk that when you go in there will be no one to see you and no room for you. 3 weeks on it's effected me so deeply that it still upsets me and has put me off ever having children again and I would consider adopting instead. My waters broke when I was in bed on Sunday evening. I called up & they said to come in..I was there by 4am and saw a midwife & they told be to come back at 10pm Monday night if no contractions had started they will induce me but when i called up that night they said come in in the morning instead. It was so busy there on this day (Tuesday 16th September) that I waited 3 hours before seeing anyone in a really hot waiting room where there were not enough seats for everyone. I saw a lovely midwife who checked me over & said all was good but still no one to induce me so I stayed in waiting room a few hours more and then they said I can have a bed on the antenatal day ward while they find me my own room and get someone to induce me. So now it's Tuesday night and im still in limbo. My boyfriend wanted to come in but on the antenatal ward you're only allowed visitors until 8pm so I said you wait at home and as soon as I have a room and someone can see me come in and bring my hospital bag. At midnight I started feeling mild contractions & I was happy that i wouldnt need to be induced. Now im a first time mum so it was all new to me...i knew once contractions start i would still have a good while until the actual birth.My boyfriend was on standby. I waited in bed, in a dark room sharing with other girls, trying to stay still and not make any noise each time I got a contraction. Once the pain was getting harder to manage I went out into the dimly lit corridor and told the lady on reception. She told me to "potter around" By 4am I couldnt lie down it was so painful i was all alone and really frightened I went out into the corridor but there was no one around. A midwife came eventually & gave me some painkillers and then at 6am she said if i wanted an epidural (which originally i didnt but feeling this pain I now did) but she didnt think there was anyone that could do it and still no room! I had to press panic button no one came for a while. At 8am, by now i was in a state shaking all over, crying & basically screaming out for help. At 8am the day staff start their shift & i was checked for first time to see how dilated i was & told "if you push your baby will come out" I soon got a room then! Within 1 hour 50 mins my baby was born and my boyfriend missed it as i was in too much pain to even use my phone. I did it all by myself and was really traumatic. Thank god for gas and air!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from St Thomas' Hospital

Thank you for sharing your experience of giving birth at St Thomas.’ I am very sorry that the birth of your first baby at St Thomas’ was such a distressing experience and I hope you will accept the hospital’s apologies for that experience. You have raised some important issues about care and communication with patients during the night shift that will be looked into by the Matron and her team. If it would be helpful to discuss your time at St Thomas’ with the Matron or one of her colleagues, please contact PALS, who would be happy to liaise on your behalf. PALS can be contacted by telephone on 020 7188 8801, 020 7188 8801 or by email at pals@gstt.nhs.uk.

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