"Maternity services at East Surrey Hospital"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

As a doctor myself it is always difficult to step on to the other side of the fence and become a patient. You certainly don't want to be given preferential treatment or at least be accused of receiving preferential treatment, yet with your knowledge and familiarity with medicine you do have certain minimum expectations of the care you will receive.

It is almost twenty years since I began my training and the world of maternity care was completely alien to me, and to be honest I was terrified. I had been nervous and anxious duing my pregnancy and my antenatal care could not have been better. From the ladies in the obsteric ultrasound department to the wonderful midwives on antenatal day unit (including the wonderful Debbie) I witnessed amazing patient centred compassionate care at it's best.

My labour was long but not progressing and I came in at 4 days after my due date. Sometimes and particularly with doctors I think, we need to be told what is happening and not actually given the evidence each way and options as to what route to take. I am one such doctor and when the wonderful Miss Manifold said I was exhausted and we needed to get the baby out, I was so relieved I no longer had to decide.

The delivery suite was busy but once I moved I was treated with absolute professionalism and genuine affection by the wonderful midwives that acted for me. Jean was my first midwife and has years of experience and I had been praying that she might be on duty when I came in, I then met Ursula who saw me through a difficult and painful night. As morning came and a few complications had arisen, Tracey took over and was my guiding light as I was terrified being rushed to theatre.

My epidural was not working and I had severe left hip pains as baby moved down and aggravated an injury to my hip I had been suffering with for a while. The reassurance I received from Dr's Riccoboni and Mackenzie and the wonderful Registrar whom we called the ice man (as he repeatedly checked my epidural was working before anyone did anything more). I distinctly remember the WHO safe surgical checklist being used, which working in safety at the trust myself seemed strangely comical to me, as well as reassuring!

Three pushes later and a bit of help from Miss Aggarwal and my little boy arrived, safe and sound. If I am honest the experience of birth has left me somewhat traumatised as I work in medicine and have a high level of control over what I do, and I try to do it well. Nothing prepares you to be a mother and I have struggled to adapt to having no control over anything and having to go with the flow.

We have been back to the hospital for after care which has been second to none particularly from Minn Chad and Outwood ward staff who looked after both of us when we needed readmitting. For me East Surrey is a second home and the staff my extended family.

Some might say I received the care I did because of 'who I am' but I disagree. I listened and watched the goings on in all the areas I was cared for and saw how hard people worked and with such dedication. The news always concentrate on emergency care and pressures on admissions (the area in which I work) but my eyes have certainly been opened in seeing the busy world of maternity from the other side.

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Response from Fiona Allsop, Chief Nurse, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear mummydoc

Thank you for taking the time sharing your experience with us. I was pleased to read that you felt listened to and supported by the clincal staff who cared for you.

I hope everything is going well.

Best wishes


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Response from Ian Mackenzie, Director of Information and Facilities, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ian Mackenzie

Dear Mummy doc

Many thanks for sharing such an in-depth story about maternity services here at East Surrey Hospital.

It is always interesting when being a patient in the same hospital that you work in and it does make you wonder whether the care you receive is typical. Having been a patient myself here only the other day my sense is that the care we receive is very typical of the care that we endeavour to give everyone that we see.

It is also interesting to see how things work in other departments and only this morning we had a really interesting multi-profession discussion which revolved around how much more we need to understand other areas and professions and that by doing so we can work better as the one team we aspire to be.

I will pass on your comments to all the colleagues you mention who I know will be delighted to read that you felt so well looked after.

best wishes


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Response from Bill Kilvington, Assistant Director for Women and Children's, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Mummy doc

Thank you for taking the time to provide such comprehensive feedback - I have ensured that all the team members will see this as an example of 'getting it right'.

I do hope that you and your new family member enjoy the great adventure of parenthood from here on - I can certainly remember my anxieties as we ventured into the new world of responsibility.

Best wishes

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