"Watch out for Victoria (antenatal) Ward"

About: Watford General Hospital

We had a very bad experience on the Victoria ward when I was admitted to be induced.

Firstly we were not told that if you are being induced then your partner can stay with you overnight. Instead my husband had to go home and was even told he would not be allowed in to see me even if he tried to come back in. My labour progressed incredibly fast and this resulted in my husband missing the birth of our daughter.

Secondly, despite things progressing (I was having mild contractions and after having the pessary my waters soon broke), I was not checked on at all during the night. I was being induced as I am Type 1 diabetic and my pregnancy was classed as high risk. After my waters broke I was meant to be taken to the consultant lead delivery suite for very close monitoring. As no-one checked on me after my waters broke (despite crying out in pain with each contraction) this did not happen. Instead, I went through labour completely alone and by the time I managed to summon up the energy to call a midwife (my buzzer had fallen out of reach) my baby's head was crowning. When the midwife eventually came they raced me into the ABC and I only just made it into a room before my baby was born.

We raised a complaint with the head of the ward and were told that the midwife in charge of me was agency staff. This should not be an excuse for such poor care. Blood sugar levels are known to be very erratic during labour (which is why I was meant to have very close monitoring) and we are very lucky that I did not pass out due to low blood sugar during labour. Additionally, we were told that if I had not managed to call for help when I did, in all likelihood I would have delivered my baby alone. Luckily we all ended up OK, but things could have ended very differently.

When being admitted to hospital you expect to be looked after, not just left completely alone and prevented from having your partner with you during the birth of your child. We feel completely let down from the lack of care we received and would not go back to Watford hospital in the future. We also spent time on the Catherine (postnatal) ward and Special Care Baby Unit and we were treated very well in both, but our experience on the Victoria ward was just too bad for us to trust this hospital again.

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Response from Watford General Hospital


The ward manager has done a full investigation and will get back to you when she returns from leave on Monday (4 April).

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