"Maternity unit shut, eventually rushed to delivery..."

About: Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Unfortunately the day I went into labour was one of the busier days of the year for the maternity unit. Being my first baby I wasn't sure what to expect but from speaking to other mothers I don't feel I had a particularly good experience. My contractions started at 5.30am and I waiting at home until about 11am before ringing the delivery suite suspecting that my waters had broken. We were sent up to the hospital for an examinationa and told to "return when my contractions were 2 minutes apart for 4 hours". Once my contractions were 2-3 mins apart we left it for 2 hours and not being able to bear the pain any more again rang the hospital and were told to come in. On arrival we were then dispatched to a room with several other women in beds all at the early stages of labour and once I was examined ended up being rushed round to the delivery suite. Within 40 minutes my baby was delivered. Although I appreciate that the unit was busy and had been closed, I don't feel I was offered the best care or support before arriving in the delivery suite where the staff were excellent. Once my baby was delivered I spent the night on the delivery suite where the staff were attentive and extremely helpful especially as I was unable to get out of bed having had a spinal in surgery after birth. The nurses were really helpful with starting breastfeeding showing me how to get baby to latch and helping with positioning. Once I was up on ward 33 the care again was fairly poor. I rarely saw the nurses actually on the ward unless they were checking blood pressure or handing out medicine and according to my husband they spent most of the time in the office chatting. I continued to breastfeed but received little to no support despite raising concerns that my baby was favouring one side. Having been signed off by the doctor to leave on the 3rd morning it took most of the day to get someone to come and discharge me (you would think being busy they would want the bed?!) only to then be told that as my baby was only feeding from one breast that I would not be able to leave despite having raised this several times over my 4 day stay and not receiving any help for this!! To make matters worse the lady in the bed opposite to me was discharged before me and even though she was having issues with breastfeeding was allowed to leave. We just kept being told repeatedly that someone would "be with me in 5 minutes". Eventually at 8.30 in the evening I was able to go having waiting for medicine to take home (which had been prescribed that morning so surely should have been ready). All in all I can say that the staff on the midwife led delivery suite were excellent but the staff on the wards and those who were dealing with women before they were sent to the delivery suite were quite poor and unsupportive.

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Response from Luton & Dunstable Hospital

We are very concerned to hear that your experience has been an unpleasant one. Please be assured that we will investigate this matter as much as we can from the information given. We would encourage you to contact our Patient Affairs Office directly on 01582 497 002, or email complaints.officer@ldh.nhs.uk if you would like us to address any of your concerns further.

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