"Maternity care"

About: Birmingham Women's Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

My experience is one related to the hospital being short staffed in my opinion.

My first booking appointment was scheduled for 3pm but I was not actually seen until 7pm, although the midwives kept coming out and apologising after 5pm as all the other departments staff had left at that point.

After that I was told my baby was small and that I would have to come in for additional scans, although every single doctor, midwife etc mentioned that I should not worry since I was quite slim so should not expect a big baby; yet I was constantly sent letters to have more scans. My baby was very healthy and her birth weight was heavier than both myself and my husband's birth weight.

Once I went for a scan and after met with a consultant who decided to admit me to the hospital to check on the baby, which I felt was completely unnecessary and was released the following day after being told by the midwives on the ward and another doctor that baby was completely healthy and I should not have been admitted.

When my due date finally arrived, I was told that I would be induced since the baby seemed small. I went in on Friday and was told that the delivery suite was extremely busy and they were only admitting emergency cases. All the other women in the room had also been induced and were waiting to be taken down to the delivery suite but had been told to wait since they were not a priority, One such women had been waiting since Wednesday to go down to the delivery suite and finally went home on Saturday since the situation was so ridiculous.

After a very long labour, on Saturday night there was only one midwife on the ward and she was very busy. Whenever she came around to see me she would be extremely negative telling me that the pain I was going through at the moment was nothing and I wouldn't be able to take the pain at the end. She completely scared me.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, I was contracting once every ten minutes. I was told that the whenever I had a contraction the baby's heart was dipping so they would constantly get me on a machine, but couldn't get a result since the contractions were so bad at this stage.

Then in the morning, whilst still trying to get readings unsuccessfully, I was telling the midwife that I have an urge to push, she kept saying that I had to keep calm when there was a contraction since they needed to find out what was happening to the baby, but I kept telling her that I needed to push and I was told not to push.

Finally my waters broke, the midwife took my pad and I was told my waters hadn't broken. Since they still couldn't get a reading they decided to take me to the delivery suite. I got up and the midwife said 'oh look your waters have gone', and asked if I could manage to walk or wanted a wheelchair, then she said 'you can walk in order to get this labour on it's way'.

In the lift I had a big contraction and pushed and i could feel a weight moving down. In the delivery suite, another midwife came and they tried to get a reading on the baby's heartbeat once again, which was unsuccessful; at this stage the only reading was my heartbeat.

I said to the new midwife, 'I have a strong urge to push'; she said 'ok, I better check how far along you are then', next thing I hear is 'That's amazing isn't it, (then speaking to me) you just take a breath of gas'. She could see the baby's head and delivered the baby.

My husband and I kept asking how she knew to check, she was saying that she had seen a case before where a women delivered whilst contracting once every 10 mins, and said that she will express her concerns to the previous ward since they should not just follow the textbook. Also that I should have been checked on the progress of the labour since it is normal for the baby's heartbeat to dip during contractions in the later stages of labour.

My experience of the post natal ward was similar to the previous user's review. I was not shown around the unit and had no idea I could get help with bathing the baby until an hour before I was going to leave.

My husband was not allowed to come and go as he pleased which would have helpful when changing the baby etc.

Also we had visitors and were shouted at for having too many people when the women opposite had more visitors and it didn't seem to be a problem.

The midwives were very good with breastfeeding advice though.

Overall the postnatal ward was not a nice experience at all, when I was told that I had to stay an extra day due to some minor complications, I was in tears since I was so desperate to get home and to give the baby time to be with her father.

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Response from Kathryn Bishop, Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust

It is very disappointing to read about your experience at Birmingham Women’s Hospital (BWH). We are sorry that your time with us was less than satisfactory. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback. Your comments will help us raise awareness amongst the staff about such issues and help us improve care for future patients.

I appreciate that you have chosen to use Patient Opinion to share your experiences as an appropriate course to your situation. However, if you feel that it would be useful for you and your family to take your comments further we would welcome direct contact from you. You can either call myself, Kathryn Bishop, (Patient Experience Lead) directly on 0121 623 6855 or you can email complaintsbwh@bwhct.nhs.uk . I will address some of the issues that you raise here in this reply.

Firstly, you mention your long wait in antenatal clinic. The wait for expectant mothers in this department is an issue we are very concerned about. We are aware that a long wait is more than simply annoying; it can be a source of anxiety and also can impact on other commitments. Staff at BWH have raised this as an issue and have set up a working group to address the problem. Our initial work shops have shown that it is not a simple problem to solve but we are making headway.

The next three points that you make I cannot comment on without an investigation of your individual case. However, I detect three main issues in your feedback; being given too little or conflicting information, not feeling listened to and poor staff attitude. As a Trust we are looking into training to improve our communication and attitude. I will also feed your comments back to the maternity directorate at their next monthly meeting.

Finally, the visiting policy for the postnatal ward is being reviewed. I’m sure that you appreciate that it is difficult to accommodate all patients’ preferences at this time. We do not have single rooms for all patients and so we have to respect the need for mothers’ to have private times with their babies without male visitors present. However, we are sensitive to the special requirements at such an occasion and want to give families an opportunity to be present. I recognise that you feel the policy was not applied consistently but I cannot comment on this individual case. We are looking at making changes and bringing in a ‘pass’ system to make it more fair and equal.

Again, thank you for your comments. We do use patient feedback as an educational tool for staff. Please contact us if you wish to have your case looked into.

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