"Maternity Poor Service"

About: Poole General Hospital / Maternity

My wife and I had our 20 week pregnancy scan today which is obviously an exciting time for us. However the whole experience became a bit of a disaster for us as a result of poor communication from Poole Maternity Hospital. Our appointment was moved a few weeks ago to allow a trainee to undergo final assessment using our scan. We saw no problem with this and were looking forward to seeing our baby for the second time. We arrived promptly for our scan at 13.30 and told to sit in the waiting room. We were not informed of any delay. It was only 40 minutes later that we were called in for the scan to take place. By this point I should really have been on my way back to work but could not bear to miss the scan and chance to see our baby again. The assessment took place and was a very awkward experience for both of us as the two assessors sat silent passing notes between each other. I'm sure this was all part of the assessment but it made us both feel a bit self conscious and like we could not really act as excited as we were the previous time we were seen at 12 weeks. The scan was not completed until 15.25 when all was told and the experience had been completely ruined for us by the concern about work commitments we were both now severely late back for. This also meant we both rushed off our separate ways afterwards and could not really enjoy the aftermath together either. I understand delays happen but we should have been pre advised of this to enable us to amend our plans and timings with our places of work. Fortunately our employers were understanding about the scenario but it could easily have seen the day further soured. Surely if you're running over half an hour behind it is common courtesy to advise those who might be on their way and ask them to come at a more reasonable time. In the end our two hour parking permit nearly ran out which would have seen us potentially receive a fine - I'm thankful we weren't too early! All in all the experience was a bit of a sour one and although the ultrasound technician did an excellent job and got us a couple of lovely pictures to look at, we feel the poor communication from the Unit was lazy, unnecessary and verging on rude.

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Responses

Response from Poole General Hospital

I am so disappointed to hear that you and your wife felt let down at your 20 week scan this week.

It can be such a wonderful experience, seeing your baby develop and it is clear that you were looking forward to it.

I am very sorry that you had to wait for 40 minutes past your appointment time before you were called in. Unfortunately some scan appointments take longer than planned if there is a problem with the pregnancy and the sonographer has to take time to discuss what he or she can see, and explain the significance of this and what will happen next.

Clearly such a discussion cannot and should not be rushed as most expectant parents go into the 20-week scan with the same excitement and anticipation as you and your partner - looking forward to seeing their developing baby again.

To suddenly face potentially bad news at that stage can be a devastating experience.

I'm afraid we don't have any additional staff who would have been available to come and tell you of the delay in clinic.

The sonographers run the clinics themselves and would obviously not leave the room to tell you of the delay if they were in discussion with another mother or couple.

Nor are they at liberty to give you any information about another woman's scan as this would breach their patient confidentiality.

I am also sorry that because the trainee was undergoing final assessment at your partner's scan that the whole experience seems to have been very formal, instead of the more relaxed experience that you were both expecting.

Please accept our sincere apologies for this.

I will certainly feed back your feelings to the sonography team as we don't want any other couples to be disappointed, as you were.

Even though the trainee was undergoing final assessment, which might well have made them feel rather tense, he or she needs to understand the need to 'celebrate' a couple's excitement about their anticipated new family member when they do the scan.

I am very pleased to hear that you had a couple of lovely pictures of your baby to take away with you.

I hope that now you and your partner can enjoy and share these as you look forward to your new arrival next year.

Please accept our apologies that your experience did not live up to your expectations.

If you want to discuss this further, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service at PALS@poole.nhs.uk or telephone 01202 448499.

Wishing you both all the very best for the future.

Kind regards,

Patient Experience Team, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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