"Being polite costs nothing and no extra time"

About: Southmead Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I had my baby in Southmead, and although it was a while ago, I still think about it most days and about how unhappy I was with my treatment. Maybe because I was only 22 when I had my daughter, but I found the staff patronising. I was a student nurse at a local university, and so asked in my notes and in person many times not to have students in with me, as I felt I did not want someone I might know or have future training with in the room with me. I felt like this was consistently ignored, and I even overheard one midwife say to her student (who was wearing scrubs not a student uniform) “oh don't worry, she wont know you're a student so just don't say anything.”

As I was relying on these people to help me get my baby out safely, I was too scared to stand up for myself. I felt by the end my birth had become a circus and that anyone seemed to feel like they could just walk in the room when they felt like it, and a whole crowd of people seemed to be in there by the end. Sorry, but I'm not one of these people who is happy for anyone and everyone to see me in such a state.

After the birth, I was wheeled to a ward and I heard the midwives discussing me having been put in the wrong room (a midwifes error taking me to the birthing suite rather than delivery room at first - I had no idea what any of this was), as if it was my fault and I just had to sit and listen as my wheelchair had been parked outside the door.

I was given no information at all about how to get breakfast and so had none for the first two days - eventually I overheard someone else saying they were going to the breakfast room and I followed them. In addition, it wasn't until the day I left that I knew there was a breastfeeding room. Had someone bothered to tell me this, I feel it would have saved me a lot of embarrassment from HCA's and Drs constantly flinging my curtain open and failing to shut it behind them so everyone on the ward could see me trying to feed. I asked a HCA - politely - if she could please shut the curtain behind her once and I felt like she glared at me and tugged it across as if I had insulted her or something.

I also had to wait two days before I could bath my baby as I kept on asking and no one came. I also had to wait for nearly two hours with my coat on and baby ready to leave the hospital before someone discharged us. It seemed like she was 'just coming' for an hour and a half.

I know wards are busy and they are understaffed etc but I believe being polite costs nothing and no extra time and it makes a lot of difference, especially to me. Also, I think treating people with respect/dignity is also not a huge ask. I have heard and read hospitals have been understaffed and stretched for a long time now, it is not just a temporary one off occurrence, and so sorry but I don’t think it’s no longer an excuse for poor service. I feel as if someone should have figured out a better way to deal with it by now.

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