"staff at A&E department were ..."

About: Stafford Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

staff at A&E department were sympathetic to my concerns and treated me with kindess and respect. it is worth mentioning that this was the receptionist and not the trained, qualified medical staff that i encountered during my visit to the hospital.

What could be improved

i went to the A&E depatment after becoming very concerned about rapidly increasing swelling to my hands, feet and face. I am 33 weeks pregnant and have a family history of pre-eclampsia. I followed advice from a pregnancy book which suggested I seek medical advice re:my symptoms. As this is my first pregnancy, i felt it appropriate to err on the side of caution and have my blood pressure checked as i have no frame of reference for what is classed as 'normal' swelling in late pregnancy. the lady in A&E referred me to delivery and sent me up to the maternity ward. On arriving at the maternity ward i was spoken to very rudely by three members of staff who were clearly very angry with me for not telehoning the delivery number. I was never made aware that i could phone this line with any concerns and the very nature of the word 'delivery' communicates an expectant mother who has gone into labour. I was asked 4 times whether i had phoned before coming down and was actually asked by one midwife whether i had 'just decided to present myself in A&E' which i found to be very rude. Staff could find no record of me on the computer system, and seeing as i am rhesus D negative blood group, this does not fill me with much confidence for the impending birth. i was genuinely concerned about my unborn child and was quite upset with the way that staff treated me. I understand that from their professional perspective it was nothing to worry about, but I have no medical qualifications and no previous pregnancies to refer to and therefore feel it is understandable that I panicked. I would have been quite happy to have just had my blood pressure checked in A&E and gone home and would have happily waited for as long as necessary. it is a shame that the empathy i have for the pressures that NHS staff are placed under was not mirrored by staff in relation to the pressures and fears that i experience as a first time parent.

Anything else?

as a patient, i now feel that i cannot go to the staff at this hospital with any concerns that i may have regarding my pregnancy for fear of being made to feel, at best, foolish and, at worst, someone whose health and the health and well being of their unborn child does not matter. i am extremely disappointed with the way i was treated by staff. I feel that they were extremely unprofessional and insensitive and it was only after i became visibly upset that one of the midwives was even slightly polite to me. although all checks were carried out efficiently and i was sent home reassured that both myself and my baby were fine, i have to say that the way that i was treated has definitely tainted my view of stafford hospital and i am seriously considering having my baby elsewhere. having a baby for the first time is frightening territory for any woman. the least that we can expect is for the staff who do know is happening to treat us with kindess and respect and to support us fully, regardless of how irrational they perceive our behaviour to be.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Stafford Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to comment on your recent experience when you attended as a patient. We are pleased to hear that the Reception staff in our A&E Department treated you with kindness and respect. We are sorry to hear how upset you felt at the treatment you received on the Maternity Ward - we would like to offer our sincere apologies for this. Your comments have been forwarded to our Patient Experience Lead who will discuss your comments with the Matron in Obstetrics and will contact you directly.

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