"Maternity not up to scratch"

About: Harrogate District Hospital

My daughter has just had her first baby and whereas she was very happy with the Delivery Suite and midwives, I have major concerns about the actual Post Natal ward. It was a cramped ward with little space between the beds both adjacent and alongside. The curtains were kept closed around the beds which gave a very claustraphobic feel to the room. There was no light in the ward, with only a tiny window above my daughter's bed. When I had my four children, in a now closed hospital unit, it was light and airy and very conducive to a new mum and baby. My 3rd child needed sunlight for jaundice - how would this have happened on Pannal Ward? My main concern was over the lack of interaction with the staff. No-one seemed to be 'looking after' the girls. My daughter's bed was never changed in the 2 days she spent there. No one kept an eye on how she was feeding, changing or nursing the baby. Specifically no one told her husband it was bad practice for him to lie on the bed, or change the baby on the bed. Both practices were very much forbidden twenty-five years ago. Hygene was really called into question here. When she left no-one escorted her from the ward to the car - this was always done when I left hospital. She had had a c-section! And on top of that no-one told her she had to continue wearing the elastic stockings she was given. Someone should have checked on that. She came away without them. I think the basic problem was a lack of auxilllary staff to do the routine jobs expected in a maternity unit. It is not about super midwives, it is about caring for a young woman who has just given birth and providing a pleasant, safe enviroment for her and the baby. I knew the NHS had made draconian cuts in not providing essentials like nappies, cream, cotton wool etc. But taking away staff and putting young mums in dark and dingy wards is below the pale. Harrogate does not get my vote.

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Response from Harrogate District Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and I am sorry that you feel that the care provided to your daughter was not of the high quality that we would expect. Whilst we have to work within the restrictions of the Hospital building, which was built some decades ago now, we are always doing what we can to improve the patient environment. This includes plans for further improvements in Maternity in the near future. We would, of course, always expect new mums and their babies to be given all the nursing care that they need, which includes suitable advice in caring for themselves and their baby. I am sorry that you did not feel that this was forthcoming and will pass your comments onto the Maternity team. If your daughter would like us to look into her care in more detail, she should contact our Patient Experience Team on (01423) 555499 or email thepatientexperienceteam@hdft.nhs.uk Thank you again for getting in touch with us. Yours faithfully Chris Watt Head of Communications Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

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