"I feel let down by Tiverton Hospital Maternity Unit"

About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / Maternity Tiverton and District Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I recently had my first baby, I had my antenatal appointments in Tiverton but was never given a familiar face. I saw 16 midwives during ante and post natal care.

I never had a home visit and was expected to make my own way to the unit the next day after giving birth. I intended on giving birth in the unit but had to go to RD+E as someone was already in labour but I returned to Tiverton for after care but received none, not once did a midwife check on me or my baby.

I requested a paracetamol from an assistant on the ward at approx 2pm, but by 8pm I had not been given one so left to recover at home.

I have been given very little advice throughout my pregnancy and what advice I did receive was unhelpful, for example I needed to know at what point during early labour I should call the hospital. I was told "not until you cannot talk through contractions". This was, I have since been told, far too late, I found out first hand and could therefore not receive the pain relief I had planned.

I also needed advice on breastfeeding, I was simply told "don't give your baby a bottle just use breast only for 48 hours". So basically starve my baby as she was not taking to the breast.

As for any advice I could have gained from antenatal classes...what a joke! I signed up for them but received a letter the week before my due date offering their apologies but the midwifery team had missed me from their list. I was welcome to attend any future classes the next one being 'preparation for birth and labour' which was held the day after I gave birth.

This has been a total shambles from start to finish, my named midwife retired at my booking appointment so I never met her yet her name still was written on my postnatal notes. My pregnancy notes were half heartedly filled out and I had to ask to complete the checklist naming my preferences for birth at 39 weeks.

Things have not improved with the health visiting team as once again my health visitor has retired after meeting her once and the others I have seen have been unhelpful and rude. All I have wanted is a familiar face and some guidance through what has been a daunting time as a new mother.

Thankfully my GP has been most helpful and reassuring but I have only just had this reassurance and longed for advice at my 6 week check up. I feel the whole team in Tiverton hospital has let me down and not fulfilled their roles to help vulnerable young women such as myself.

If I feel brave enough to ever go through this experience again and have another child you can be assured I will be having all my care through my GP and RD+E's Well Woman Centre as I have truly been given the care and attention I so needed there.

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Response from Rebecca McGuffog, Patient Engagement and Experience Officer, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback regarding your recent experience of the Tiverton Hospital Maternity Unit.

I am sorry to hear this has left you feeling let down. Please be assured we take feedback on our services very seriously. Due to the nature of the issues you have raised, we would appreciate the opportunity to investigate this matter on a more in depth basis.

If you wish for this to happen, I would be grateful if you could contact the Trust’s Patient Engagement and Experience Department on 01392 402363 or 01392 403915. I look forward to hearing from you with details of how you wish to proceed.

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