"blackpool maternity unit experience"

About: Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Having had my first child at blackpool 3 years ago I felt very confident about choosing blackpool as the birth place for my second child in January, during my labour 3 years ago the labour ward was imaculate and the whole experiance was brilliant and i have strongly recommended this ward to friends which is why I was shocked to see the deterioration of the service this time round. When I first went into hospital I was taken to the maternity ward and the room was not clean, there was a dirty tissue on the floor and it looked filthy, the bathroom was also dirty and although only cosmetic there where holes in the wall (strange as 3 years ago it was new). As I was only in because my waters had broke and my temp was slightly high I was left in this room until I was in established labour, at this time I was taken to the new midwifery led unit. This unit will be fantastic its a very modern facility with everything you would need, however as it only opened that day (still had the painters in in the morning) it really wasnt ready for patients. I was taken to a room and asked for gas and air, the midwife didnt know where it was so had to go and search for it, this is a basic request. Following this my main concern was there was only one midwife on the ward and towards the end of my labour they were struggling to find the babies heart beat but put it down to the equipment, later on it turns out this wasn't the case and my baby was in distress. Luckily after being taken back to the delivery ward my baby was born fit and healthy. My baby was born at 4.45am saturday and I was told I would be able to go home that day as there where no complications (as to be expected with second child, especially when after my first I was told I could go home after an hour and half after giving birth and to go back the next day for checks). This was to be the start of my disapointment. I had to wait for a pediatrician and to have an injection, there was only one pediatrician available at the weekend that has to cover all departments. After asking when I would see one on Sunday night I was told that they were looking after a sick child and that was their priority, I completely appreciate this however why is there only one on, I assume weekend births are as common as during the week. I was told I could self discharge but this wasnt recommended and obviously I wouldnt do this on the rare chance something was wrong, even though a midwife told me this is what they would do. I had my anti d injection at 11.30pm Saturday night. I didnt get to see a pediatrician until 2.30am on monday morning! Being in hospital for 3 days with no other reason than lack of resource just causes extra stress for new mums, as explained I already have a child at home and to see her so upset because I couldn't come home was terrible and surely the aim should be to reduce stress for new mums. The staff where fantastic and its such a shame that they seemed to be under staffed due to cuts in funding.

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Response from Eleanor Walsh, Lead in Patient Experience & Engagement , Patient Experience, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

picture of Eleanor Walsh

Hi Rachel

Thank you so much for sharing your story. We are always working to improve the services we offer to our patients and this starts with listening to what your experience of care has been like to understand what we do well and what we could do differently.

I found reading about your experience extremely insightful. Your story highlights so many areas for us to learn from. I am sorry and disappointed to hear that your experience was different to your expectations from your first pregnancy and that you found the cleanliness of the delivery ward poor and that there seemed to be a lack of staff and equipment available to you both during and after the delivery of your child this time around. This is not the standard we would expect. I will ensure the Midwifery Matron is made aware of your concerns immediately so that they can use this feedback to improve and develop their service.

I would also encourage you to make contact with our Birth Afterthoughts service which we have recently established in the Trust. It is a confidential service that provides an opportunity for new mothers and their partners to discuss and understand what happened during labour and birth with senior midwives. They will go through the process with you step by step and answer any questions you have and also explain why these events occurred in more detail at a mutually convenient time and venue. If you have not already done so I would appreciate it if you would be willing to contact the Birth After Thoughts service lead, Janet Danson Smith, on 01253 953628.

I hope you are recovering well at home with your family and please accept my assurances that we will learn from what happened on this occasion.

With best wishes for the future,

Eleanor Walsh

Lead in Patient Experience and Engagement

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