"made us feel valued, reassured and safe"

About: Alexandra Hospital / Maternity care Princess Of Wales Hospital / Maternity care Worcester Royal Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am writing with reference to my experiences at your hospital leading up to the birth of my son, during the birth and the post birth care. It is 4 months after his birth, which was in April 2016, and I have retold our experience to many, many people and feel that it is important to share them with you.

During my pregnancy I was unfortunate to be diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, where the symptoms gradually got worse from 28 weeks pregnant until the early delivery, via c-section, of my son at 37 weeks. During this time I had care from many departments in the hospital and have nothing but positive experiences to share.

Before I discuss the experiences in more detail I wish to add a little context surrounding my pregnancy. I was in my second pregnancy, having miscarried a baby the previous year, and felt an overwhelming responsibility to keep the baby that I was carrying safe until he was born. As a result, the news that I had pre-eclampsia undoubtedly added to the anxiety that I was already experiencing.

My first experience of your hospital was our planned walk around. An insightful journey around the maternity unit, which not only provided us with factual information but reassurance based on the calm feeling we experienced while there. We would never have believed that babies were being delivered in the hospital due to the quiet and calm environment that we were toured around.

Then from 27 weeks, I called triage a couple of times and the staff on the phone offered me advice and asked me to call back in an hour once I had tried a number of their suggestions; when calling back the staff were reassuring and insisted if I had any concerns or worries then I could call back / visit them at the hospital anytime. With clear advice, and a friendly manner, I was relieved that everything appeared to be ok!

During my visits to triage, sent by my community midwife due to high blood pressure and protein in my urine, I was never made to feel like I was ‘wasting their time’. The staff were always welcoming and reassuring in their positive, calm approach- sharing what they were going to do and talking us both through the stages of my care. Providing exceptional care for me and my baby, and providing my partner with support and information, meant that we always left the hospital feeling positive that our baby and I were in safe hands.

As my pregnancy progressed, so did the pre-eclampsia and this resulted in every-other-day visits to the Day Assessment Unit. Every visit I would see a different midwife, who still provided the same standard of care as the last, even when it was noticeable that they were short staffed. Often having to answer phone calls, respond to questions from people entering the room as well provide me and my baby with their undivided professional care. This is echoed of the staff on the ward when I was admitted for high blood pressure.

At 36 weeks pregnant, the every-other-day visits to the Day Assessment Unit became part of my routine while my blood pressure and protein levels were rapidly increasing. Arriving at the hospital on Saturday my partner and I expected it to be like any other appointment; however we were quickly directed to the ward and seen by a consultant within 20 minutes. He explained that our baby would not be disadvantaged being born now (at 37+4) but if my symptoms continued to decline at the same rate then he could have a very ill Mother and Baby. As a result he suggested that they delivered our Baby-Boy that day. During the 6 hours from that time to the time of the surgery, my partner and I were looked after by the midwives on the ward, we were talked to by an anaesthetist, paediatrician, the registrar as well as midwives. All giving us enough information so that we would give informed consent for the C-section. The paediatrician, in particular, was amazing talking us through from the moment they arrive for us to after the baby was delivered. Describing it for my experience as well as what my partner will experience.

As soon as I entered the theatre I felt a sense of calm, where all of the professionals introduced themselves and their role and explained what they were going to do. This was reassuring and the calmness continued during the surgery and beyond. The after care in recovery was amazing, given guidance on skin-to-skin and supporting my partner and myself in those early precious moments.

On the ward, for the 24 hours that followed, I felt respected by the health workers, who worked with me to get out of bed, shower myself and help in my pursuit to be mobile. The midwives offered advice and support at a time when I could not get of bed and despite a very busy department I never felt like they could not help. But also gave me space and independence to get to know my baby.

As you can see, my pregnancy meant me experiencing many of your departments, and all of your staff were amazing and made me feel that, despite it being something they do every day, that my baby-boy mattered and so did my well-being.

Your staff have demonstrated the effectiveness of our NHS and you should be proud of this. Every member of your team that we came into contact with made us feel valued, reassured and safe. I am not sure if you are able pass this on to the departments and it is unfortunate that I cannot name people personally however I will continue to share my positive experience with others who ask.

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Response from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Congratulations on the birth of your son, I hope you are all well and enjoying family life. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us.

Although a normal process pregnancy and labour can sometimes follow an unexpected path I am delighted we were able to care and support you throughout with calm reassurance and advice.

We are proud of our maternity service and all staff help to care for our women and their families. It is lovely to hear that you received the same level of care throughout all departments. We strive to ensure that the information given enables women to fully understand various processes and feel able to make choices.

We have passed on your comments to all departments involved in your care and will use your experience to further improve our patient’s experience, thank you again.

Judi Barratt - Midwife/Divisional Patient Experience Lead

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