"Great Antenatal - Poor Post Natal on a Dirty Ward"

About: St Mary's Hospital (Manchester)

I had a really mixed experience with my care at St Mary's. The antenatal care was brilliant. From 23 weeks, I was under the care of the specialist placenta clinic and owing to some minor complications, was, by the end of my pregnancy, there 2 or 3 times a week. The doctors and midwives in the placenta clinic were absolutely amazing - always making sure I understood what was going on and involving me in the decisions about my care.

In the final few weeks of my pregnancy, I developed gestational hypertension and my placenta began slowing down. The consultants in the placenta clinic had prepared me for this as a possibility many weeks prior and took great care to see me regularly in order that the baby could get as close to full term as possible. Eventually, they recommended I was induced (when I went in for induction I was 36+4 days) and at that point my care was transferred to the induction ward.

Because I was under 37 weeks, my prostin gel induction treatments had to be administered by a Doctor and this meant a lot of waiting around at times. I appreciate doctors do get called to emergencies, but at one point I was left in bed, hooked to a heart monitor for the baby and unable to move for 5 hours waiting for a doctor who was "on the way." That said, the midwives were brilliant.

Once I was ready for a delivery suite, however, I ended up with a 36 hour wait for one!! That seemed a hideously long time and therefore I had been in hospital 3 nights before I even went to delivery.

The anesthetist I dealt with in delivery was brilliant and so too were the consultants. However, the midwife on duty with me failed to notice for 45 minutes that my epidural had become disconnected at the shoulder. This left my in an oxytocin drip induced labour with intense contractions 1 minute apart with absolutely no pain relief. The midwife didn't notice until the anesthetist pointed it out when trying to establish why I was in so much pain. I also heard the midwife mumble under their breath, after the anesthetist asked when they last checked the epidural, that "everything is going wrong for me today." We all have bad days at work but when you have a patient in a complicated labour it is unprofessional to say so. My fluid drip was also allowed to run out and not changed resulted in dehydration.

Ultimately, the team started to lose the ability to track my baby's heartrate so I ended up having an emergency caesaerean. The team in theatre were absolutely amazing. They were brilliant. I was panicking and very emotional, as was my husband, and they reassured me no end. A great team there.

My post natal care involved 3 days on Ward 47. The staff were lovely. However, the ward was dirty. I was in a little ward for 4 people but it was tiny and very cramped. Visitor limits were not enforced so it was often overcrowded and you could run your finger along things and see the dirt. Very worrying for the risk of infection with newborns too.

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Response from St Mary's Hospital

Thank you for your feedback and sincere apologies for the length of time it has taken to respond. We are sorry to learn that your experience was not as positive as we would hope during your stay in Saint Mary’s Hospital.

It is important to us that we receive feedback and this is used as an opportunity to make the changes and improvements required.

In response to your comments, I can tell you that we have made some changes to the way we organise for women to come in to have their labour induced. The changes include having single rooms available so women can have their birth partner with them for as long as they wish and we look to arrange for women to be induced as different times throughout the day so the midwives can provide an increased level of support. There are occasions when there are an increased number of women who require their labour to be induced and we are undertaking a further review of this, looking to make further changes before the end of this year.

Mrs Julie Hempstock, Lead Midwife for Intrapartum Care will ensure that your positive comments of the Medical and midwifery staff are fed back to them. She will also take the opportunity to remind all staff that the Trust has an expectation that all staff act in a professional manner at all time, and she is very sorry that a member of her team failed to behave as we would have wished.

Your concerns regarding the cleanliness of the department have also been raised directly with the department involved so that they can look into them so that others do not experience the same concerns as you. Mrs Mitchell, Deputy Head of Facilities, would like to apologise that you found the standards of cleanliness to be unacceptable.

Mrs Mitchell confirms that following receipt of your complaint she is working with the clinical teams within Saint Mary’s Hospital to review the cleaning schedules to ensure that these issues are addressed.

The Trust expects to provide a high standard of care and environmental cleanliness and we are very sorry that we failed to provide this for you.

It is difficult to respond to all the posts in a full way often because of a lack of detailed information, therefore if you would like to discuss this with us in more detail, please feel free to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0161 276 8686 or by e-mailing pals@cmft.nhs.uk

The Patient Experience Team

Central Manchester University Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust

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