"The facilities in the new Bloomsbury ..."

About: University College Hospital Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing

(as the patient),

What I liked

The facilities in the new Bloomsbury Birthing Centre were amazing. Our room was spotless and very well arranged, and post birth, we had a very good standard of care from supportive midwives and doctors. Despiet this, I am reticent about recommending UCH for the reasons below.

What could be improved

My major concern - which I have had echoed by a number of other mothers who have also given birth at UCH - is over the 'guidelines' the midwives use during early-stage labour. In particular the one that states that women can only be examined every 4 hours due to risk of infection. As far as I am aware, this is not a universal NHS guideline as I know other mothers in other hospitals were examined more regularly. Even if it is, strict adherence to what is meant to be a guideline, not a rule, seems ludicrous as first time mothers with very quick labours end up frightened, in pain and in end-stage labour without even being checked again. In my case I was allegedly 1cm dilated on admission, so the midwife on duty said she would only check me in 4 hours, However within 2-3 hours I was fully dilated with my waters broken, and the only reason I was checked is because the shift changed. This was despite repeated requests by my husband for someone to check me. A friend had the same experience 24 hours before me - the midwife refused to check her despite her mother (a trained paedeatric nurse) saying she was convinced her daughter was at least 8cm dilated - which she was. So I really think this guideline/policy needs to be reviewed urgently at as my labour experience was hugely coloured by fear and pain as I was allowed no pain relief and given no indication that my labour was progressing so quickly despite my instincts telling me I was nearly in final stages.

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Response from University College Hospital Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing

Thank you for your positive feedback about the Bloomsbury Birthing Centre. However we are disappointed about your comments regarding the early stages of your labour.

You might like to discuss you concerns further with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service ( PALS) in one of the ways listed below:

Telephone: 020 7380 9975 (24 hr answer phone)

email: pals@uclh.nhs.uk.

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm except weekeends and public holidays