"Lack of communication"

About: Forth Valley Royal Hospital / Maternity unit

(as the patient),

I have been disappointed with the communication from anti-natal services from the outset. I phoned and left a message on the answerphone for no-one to get back to me. I then decided to email as my telephone message had not received a response. Again it took a few days to receive a response however I was happy that I had finally managed to get in touch with the booking team. I received an email with an appointment for my initial booking appointment which myself and my partner arranged time off of work to attend.

On arrival at FVRH I spoke to the receptionist and gave my name and appointment details; I was asked to take a seat in the waiting room. After around 20 minutes I approached the receptionist to enquire how late appointments were running. At this point I was asked what team I was, I replied that didn't know yet as this was my first appointment, and did I have my notes, again I informed the receptionist that I did not as this was my initial appointment. The receptionist then said they would go and find out what was happening. This took approximately 20 minutes before the receptionist returned to the waiting area. This person walked straight past me, sat down behind the desk and began speaking with another staff member. I again approached the desk and asked if they had found out what was happening. they replied that they didn't have a note of my appointment today and they would need to make me an appointment for another day.

I am perplexed as to why it took 40 minutes and me enquiring for anyone to realise that there had in fact been no appointment scheduled for me. The receptionist asked me to write my name and phone number down and said they would phone me in around 20 minutes to give me another appointment. I did not receive a phone call that day which added to my feelings of exasperation and being totally disregarded by the team. I did receive a phone call the following morning with an appointment for that afternoon however my partner was unable to arrange further time away from his work at such short notice therefore he was unable to be involved, as he had hoped.  


Response from Gail Bell, Deputy Head of Midwifery, Women and Children, NHS Forth Valley

Dear Lynnlulu

Congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope you are keeping well.

I was so sorry to read that your first experience of our maternity services was not a good one. Please accept my apologies. I can totally understand your frustration, exasperation and feelings of being overlooked by the service especially when it had an impact relating to your partner who had taken time off work to attend and be part of that first exciting appointment.

As you have now had your booking appointment, I am hopeful that you have met your midwife who will care for you throughout your pregnancy journey and that you have started to develop a special relationship with her.

I am unsure where things have gone wrong and am therefore really keen to get to the bottom of it. The hospital has had some major systems changes recently which have had a few teething problems for us so it would be good to know if this had an impact on your experience.

In order to follow up in more detail it would be good to have some information around dates and times so I can narrow it down to find the root of the problem which will hopefully help us improve our care. It would be really helpful if you would be happy to contact me either by phone for a chat or by email. My contact details are:

Tel- 01324567484

Email- gailbell@nhs.net

Please be assured that I will be engaging in discussions with staff at the booking bureau re their response times to emails and calls and also with reception staff regards conveying information to waiting patients about their appointments in a timely fashion. As you rightly say good communication is essential to all processes. My ultimate aim is to ensure that this does not happen again to any of our mums-to-be.
Hopefully I will hear from you soon.

In the meantime can I wish you a wonderful pregnancy which sees you cared for by your named midwife who will support you throughout.

Kindest regards


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