"Planned birth at Lancaster, but was turned away in labour and was rushed to Barrow"

About: Furness General Hospital / Maternity Royal Lancaster Infirmary / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I live in Ulverston and although Barrow is my nearest hospital, I had chosen to give birth in Lancaster through personal preference when the time came. I went into labour on my due date and my contractions quickly became regular and were 6 mins apart, lasting for 45-50 seconds. As Lancaster hospital is a 1 hour drive for us, we packed the car and set off. By the time we got there, they were 4-5 mins apart and lasting 50 seconds.

It was around 10pm, and we were given a frosty reception by the midwife on duty (who's name I know but I'd rather not name and shame on here) and told to wait in a room to be assessed. We waited quite a while and was told I was 2cms dilated and to go home. I explained to the midwife we live a 1 hour drive away and I couldn't face the journey back home only to come all the way back again later.

She said because my waters hadn't broken yet and it was my first baby, 'nothing would happen for at least another 15 hours'. Even when we asked if I could be kept in for an hour for monitoring she was very quick to tell me my contractions 'weren't regular enough' despite them being every 4 mins by this stage and 50 secs long (they were like clockwork, I was timing them on my phone! ) I even showed her my phone so she could see how regular they were but she assured me I wasn't in established labour yet.

We were sent away and I was given 2 paracetamol and was told to get some sleep (! ) at home. I could barely walk out of the hospital doors I was in so much pain by then and prospect of the the journey home was not one I was looking forward to. Needless to say the journey back I was in agony, my contractions were every 3 minutes by now and lasting 1 minute. I needed help to get in the house because of the pain and my waters broke as soon as I was home. There was no point what so ever attempting to try and sleep or taking the paracetamol, they would have made no difference at all! After an hour at home I said to my partner I needed to go to hospital right away but I couldn't make the journey all the way back to Lancaster, so we rushed to Barrow (it was around 1am by this time) where I was found to be 8cms and the birthing pool was immediately filled up and I was ready to get in and start pushing.

So, after the midwife at Lancaster saying it would be another 15 hours before anything happened and I wasn't in established labour, I went from 2cms to 8cms in a couple of hours and it was fast and furious, and not to mention the couple of very uncomfortable journeys I had in agony with no adequate pain relief!

As it happened the care I received at Barrow was second to none, fantastic midwives, great facilities and aftercare. I couldn't fault them and it was a very positive experience from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. Every labour is different and I feel it was unprofessional to turn me away due to a general assumption my labour would take much longer than it did. The midwifes at Lancaster acted like they weren't bothered and it felt like they couldn't wait to get me out the door.

If I have another child we will definitely return to Barrow, we wouldn't consider Lancaster next time.


Response from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Hello there,

Many thanks for your feedback. We're keen to follow-up on the comments you've made and whilst we're delighted about your experience at Barrow, we would like to understand more about your negative experience at Lancaster.

We also appreciate that you may want to talk in confidence to us and we would welcome that opportunity.

Would you be able to call our Patient Liaison Team on 01539 716621?

I'd be more than happy if you wanted to contact me direct with your details - again confidentially, and I can ask someone from our PALS team to contact you direct?

Please see my details below and I do hope you can get in touch.

David Wallace

Head of Corporate Communications


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