"Overworked midwives who ignore patient-centred..."

About: John Radcliffe Hospital

What I liked

I had to have a planned cesearean. The anesthetist was patient and reassuring and the other nurses and doctors involved in the operation behaved professionally.

What could be improved

After the operation I was on the observation ward. I found the midwives rushed and unsupportive. I was told I would be moved at some point in the night and so struggled to sleep thinking each time they approached they would be moving me to another floor.

Once I was on the general ward (moved at 4am) my daughter cried loudly, she did not want to feed and I was unable to soothe her by walking (due to the c-section). I had no idea of the size of the ward nor the patient/staff ratio so I asked a midwife if she could help me settle my baby as I was worried we were disturbing the others. She laughed and said she wasn't paid to do that.

I was later asked if I wanted to self-medicate- to which I agreed- I was then given packets of tablets with the times written on them- I then barely saw a member of staff and could not see a clock so struggled to know if I was keeping to the appropriate times.

When they did the peadiatrician check, a midwife just took my baby and walked off with her not explaining where she was going - I rushed after her, finding it hard to keep up due to my difficulty walking. I then had to wait in a corridor with my daughter and as I had had no time to change I found I was wearing a nightie with blood on the back - this was embarassing.

When I finally left the ward I was given a pack of injections I was meant to self-administer - no one asked if I was comfortable doing this and the person who signed me out appeared to believe someone had previously explained what they were to me. I didn't take them.

I had been part of a foetal growth study at the JR and one of the research team's requests was that I contact them within 24 hours of the birth so my daughter could be measured. I did not have a phone but showed a midwife the bleep number for the team-she refused to contact, saying it wasn't "urgent".

Also on leaving not a single midwife looked up to say goodbye nor acknowleged me in any way.

Anything else?

Overall - they made a wonderful experience feel pretty miserable, quite in contrast to the birth I had had 3 years before in a different hospital.

I had heard good things about the JR and was looking forward to giving birth there. The staff who carried out the planned cesearean operation did a very good job but the midwifery care afterwards was rude and impersonal and I could not wait to get home.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from John Radcliffe Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on NHS Choices. We are pleased you felt you were looked after by patient, reassuring and professional staff during your delivery – we hope you and your baby are progressing well.

We are sorry you could not sleep because you had been told you may be moved. The observation ward is a high dependency unit and patients are sometimes moved during unsocial hours due to workload pressures or emergencies and without knowing the exact date, it is difficult to comment on the events of this night but we would offer our apologies.

The midwife should not have told you she ‘was not paid to help’ and we are sorry this was said. Regarding your comments on self-medication, if you informed the midwife that you had no access to a clock then you should not have been given the option to self-medicate.

New-born babies are always examined with a parent being present – we are sorry you were offered no explanation and felt rushed and embarrassed. We are sorry the ‘research team’ were not contacted and that you were not acknowledged when you left the ward. On leaving the ward you should have had an explanation as to the importance of and how to administer your medication.

We would like to reassure you that we take all feedback seriously and have made staff on all the maternity levels aware of your comments.

You may like to use the ‘Birthafterthoughts’ service which is a listening and information service available to women who have given birth within the last year. You would be given the opportunity to talk over your experience with a midwife using your hospital notes. The contact number is 01865 220605.

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