"I had my first baby at PAH last ..."

About: Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow)

(as the patient),

What I liked

I had my first baby at PAH last year. I went into labour 4 weeks early, and seemed to have my baby on the busiest weekend of the year. Despite this I had one-to-one midwife care throughout my labour. The midwife was very caring, professional, and involved my husband.I felt that my opinions and views were taken into consideration. The labour ward was very clean, and all staff kind, caring and helpful. The midwife made my labour experience a very positive one.

I spent 5 day on the post-natal ward, staff lovely but clearly over-worked. Ward spotlessly clean.

Midwives very knowledgeable and incredibly hard working despite obviously being understaffed and over-worked.

What could be improved

There was a definate shortage of staff on the post-natal ward. On labour ward I recieved excellent care. On post-natal ward there was a distinct lack of staff, especially midwives,and all were overworked, too many patients to too few staff. This was most evident overnight. When calling for help, took up to half hour for someone to attend, no support with breastfeeding. I was readmitted to post-natal ward with my baby when he was 5 days old due to a number of reasons, staff were understanding but never around when I needed help, communication between doctors and nursing staff poor. Junior doctor inexpereinced in dealing with paediatrics. As an paediatric nurse and health visitor I was appalled at the junior docctors lack of basic skills in dealing and treating my baby. Also on neo-natal ward where my baby attended twice daily for antibiotics I felt staff were too overworked, doing day attenders drugs and treatment as well as caring for the premature babies, and on more than one occasion I had to question what they were doing and giving my baby to prevent errors.

Also the food was awful, my first meal after giving birth was a corn beef sandwich!! The sandwiches were all dry, hot meals bland, old-fashioned, and of poor quality.

Improve staff numbers, and patients experiences will be greatly improved. Also better quality of food, and more variety each day, more nutitious food, will help patients mood!!

Anything else?

I was classed as a high risk patient and had a consultant led pregnancy, yet only saw the consultant once at ante-natal appointments, he was excellent, very kind, knowledgeable and answered our questions honestly, listened to our views. The junior doctors(registrars) I saw during pregnancy were abrupt, rude and dismissive and were pressurising me into making decisions there and then, such as an elective caesarean on my due date, when I declined, as my consultant, their senior, had said this would not be necessary, they were very rude, recording in my noes that I was unco-operative! Also the waiting times for appointments for consultants and scans too long, most appointments I was seen at least an hour after my appointment time, on one occcassion I waited just over 2 hours!

Also the car parking was very expensive, especially as in hospital for a total of 7 days and my husband wanted to spend time with us, there should be a discount for patients who are in-patient for this length of time.

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Response from Princess Alexandra Hospital

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry that certain aspects of your care caused you concern. Your comments have been passed to our Head of Midwifery who would be very happy to discuss your concerns in more detail. We are currently undertaking an extensive recruitment campaign to recruit more midwives and nurses on post natal wards. If you would like to discuss matters further please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service. Thank you once again for your comments.

Telephone: 01279 827211

Email: pals@pah.nhs.uk

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