"Avoid Burstow"

About: East Surrey Hospital

My wife’s labour was an extremely long, stressful and difficult one that ended up keeping us in East Surrey hospital for five days. It was also a labour of two halves. One of professional, friendly staff and modern facilities. The other was an almost Soviet experience where we were treated with constant hostility and dismissal. If you don’t want to read my whole review then just heed this – the Burstow ward is absolutely horrible. Go for a look before planning to give birth here. First the good – leading up to the birth of our baby we had some excellent midwives in the Rusper ward. As a partner there was just an incredibly uncomfortable chair provided and I had to repeatedly ask for blankets. I ended up sleeping on the floor. My wife was well looked after though and most things were clearly explained to us. When we went to the delivery suite we were extremely well treated by the two midwives who looked after us, as well as the anesthetist and consultants. Things took an extremely severe turn for the worst once we were moved to the Burstow ward. You are curtained off into a space that is far too small for mother, baby, cot and partner. The first midwife to speak to us simply told us to move our bags. Who would want to spend their first few hours with baby in a small, shadowy corner of a loud room full of strangers? The place is very run down and cramped, most of the midwives we encountered were unpleasant or rude and there was a very strange hostility towards partners. You aren’t allowed any food or drinks and while there are reclining chairs they are very uncomfortable. We were constantly told off for minor petty things which became extremely tiring (you must take those flowers home! Why aren’t you drinking this apple juice? Why is the baby undressed? Why is it this temperature in here? Don’t put that item on the bed!). We managed to secure a private room but this was loud and dirty. After being lectured for so long it was surprising to see mouldy cups of tea left in the room from the last occupants left in there. The breast feeding helpers were very kind as were the pediatricians. Why must the midwives be so terse? Tidy up Burstow, the staff should drop the attitude towards tired and stressed patients and more provision needs to be made for partners. Burstow needs to either be made bigger or a separate ward used. The demand for the facilities is not a valid excuse for much of what we experienced there.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Anonymous

I was sorry to read your comments about Burstow ward and would very much like to talk to you about the experience you and your wife had. Please do get in touch with me at janice.blythman@sash.nhs.uk or you can contact either of my colleagues adaline.smith@sash.nhs.uk or Lizzie.hamilton@sash.nhs.uk.

best wishes

Janice Blythman

Maternity Matron

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