"A little bit of kindness and understanding means the world to a frightened patient "

About: Leicester General Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I made a formal complaint in November 2013 regarding Gross Misconduct from a handful of 'care' workers and 1 particularly unpleasant midwife. This was totally disregarded and evidence of my grievances was sadly 'misplaced'. These people are still apparently working there.

My daughter is now 18 months old and I still suffer from nightmares and flashbacks all revolving around my ordeal on ward 30 - 4 days after my daughter was born. I had an elective c-section (my first baby) and had extremely poor antenatal treatment i.e. no support, just midwives digging up my past and experiences that were irrelevant regarding my pregnancy yet very personal and sensitive to me. This was just a counter-productive approach to dealing with a patient with historic emotional vulnerabilities due to past trauma. I was constantly being told I was going to be referred to Social Services and purely due to a episode of depression 15 years ago.

My c-section was unavoidably delayed for almost 10 hours, so I had no food and very little fluids for over 22 hours. After being sent home after this wait, I was disorientated, weak, and terrified as at this point I could not feel my baby moving anymore. I reacted as I believe most mothers would if they felt their child was in danger or worse. I went into theatre the next day, desperate to just get the baby out as I was beyond despair by this point. The birth of my daughter was fantastic, the staff that delivered her were amazing and I couldn't have been more grateful and relieved. Suddenly all the stress of the past months disappeared and I felt relaxed to the first time in months.

The aftercare was initially good. Some of the staff on Ward 30 were fantastic, and completely understood how scared I had been. However, many of them were not. There was no understanding or kindness from the lower members of staff - just the opposite.

On the day I was due to be discharged, I was subject to some staff behaving in what I considered childish and cruel manner. There were quite a few incidents that occurred between 2pm and 11: 30 that day/evening, but to put it into context I will give just one example of the attitudes and behaviour of some staff.

One girl thought it would be funny to joke about my baby being taken away from me by social services. Sadly, she actually began to convince herself that she herself would be allowed to 'adopt' my child, and even asked the unpleasant midwife (mentioned above) if she could 'take the baby home now'. Needless to say, I did not find this funny and I thought people who worked in hospitals needed to have at least a basic level of IQ.

It transpires that this girl was not even on the pay-roll and was merely an apprentice care assistant. She should not have be allowed near patients and baby's without responsible supervision. She also should not have been allowed to pick up, touch and kiss my baby when I repeatedly told her to leave my child alone and when I was not physically strong enough (due to a major op) to take my child back from her.

Obviously this just caused more work for the qualified staff who were left to clean up this person's mess and get my discharge papers sorted out so I could get off the ward. The poor midwife who eventually came to help, was dealing with 2 emergencies during this evening and had to then sort out this mess that this person had created, purely as my family refused to leave me there alone after becoming extremely concerned about some staffs' behaviour.

I appreciate that people make mistakes and should often be allowed a second chance. I will never have a second chance regarding the first year of my only child's life. I suffered extreme PTSD and PND purely due to the above mentioned. Needless to say I will not be using the LGH maternity services again, and remain sad that only a few staff had to utterly ruin it for all of us.

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Response from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Dear stronglady,

We are incredibly sorry that you feel let down by the care you were given at Leicester General Hospital. Our staff work incredibly hard to ensure every woman receives the best possible care so it is disappointing to read that you don’t share the same view as many other women who have given birth with us.

We have passed your comments onto the Head of Midwifery, Elaine Broughton who is familiar with your case. Elaine informed us that she has spoken with you over the phone and offered a face-to-face meeting to discuss your concerns further. Of course, this offer still stands, so please contact her at Elaine.Broughton@uhl-tr.nhs.uk or call 0116 258 5476 if you would like to set this up.

Kind regards

Communications Team

Leicester’s Hospitals