"Special Care Baby Unit"

About: Conquest Hospital

My son was born 10 weeks early at the Conquest by emergency c-section. We was transferred over to Brighton hospital that same night where both he and I received fantastic treatment. After a couple of weeks he was transferred back to the Special Care Baby Unit at the Conquest. I am completely and utterly disgusted at how awful the nurses treat the parents of poorly babies. I was made to feel incompetent of being a parent and had sly comments made at me on many occasions. As parents of premature babies know, me and my partner was not prepared for our son to be born prematurely, and was unable to be at the hospital from morning to night due to rushing around getting things ready for our son, however we was questioned and criticised by a couple of nurses over this and I was reduced to tears. I was even laughed at and told by a nurse not to call the hospital late at night as there was no need for it and that they were too busy. I liked to call every night before bed to see how my son was as it put my mind at rest, and I was entitled to do that! However I was made to feel like an inconvenience and a burden. I also overheard nurses speaking unpleasantly about other parents of babies in the unit which I thought was very unprofessional and extremely nasty. They are there to care for our children, not to be judgemental of us parents. These "nurses" are in the wrong career, they should be sensitive, understanding and patient, and they are not any of those things. It got to the point where I was too anxious to visit my son as often because I knew how uncomfortable I would feel once there. That just proves how awful they really are. No parent - especially a parent who at one point had the fear that their baby may not survive - should be made to feel that they can't visit their child because quite frankly a stranger has made them feel so uncomfortable! I made a complaint to PALS and received a phone call from the ward matron, however I was not taken seriously at all. The ward matron was very defensive of the SCBU staff, and I was told that I must have misinterpreted some of the nurse's comments (absolute rubbish). They made what was already a traumatic experience even harder, and I will never forget how low I was made to feel by such an insensitive bunch!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Conquest Hospital

We are deeply saddened to hear about your experience on NHS Choices relating to the conduct of the nursing staff on the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at the Conquest Hospital.

As a Trust, our aim is always to provide a family friendly service. However, what you describe in your posting is clearly far from this and is completely unacceptable.

We sincerely apologise for your poor experience and for the fact that you felt 'anxious' and uncomfortable when visiting your premature son.

Please be assured we take your comments very seriously and we will address the issues you raise immediately with the information you provided. For this purpose, your posting has already been shared with key staff to act upon.

However, in order for us to thoroughly investigate what happened, the Head of Nursing for Children's services would like the opportunity to speak to you in person so that we can gather more details.

If you are willing to get in touch, please contact switchboard on 01424 755255 and ask to be put through to Fran Edmunds, Head of Nursing, Children’s services on Extension 8387.

We sincerely hope that you make contact with us so that we can apologise in person and thoroughly look into the issues you highlighted.

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