"Maternity triage"

About: Queen's Hospital (Romford)

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I called the maternity triage number with something my midwife has told me to keep an eye on and let them know urgently if anything changed. The triage midwife was rude and abrupt on the phone and told me to come straight to the triage unit. I did as she asked and when I got there we didn't wait very long until we were seen by the same lady who answered the phone. She was again rude, abrupt and told me that I was over reacting (strange considering altering hearing my symptoms she was the one who had told me to come in).

Se told me that community midwives didn't always know what they were talking about and that I was worrying about nothing but because I was there and thought something was wrong I have to now wait for the doctor. I tried to tell her that I wanted to get it checked out but didn't necessarily need to see the doctor. If she thought there was nothing to worry about then that was fine. She insisted that I saw the doctor and told me that "I have to wait 30 minutes to an hour depending on how busy they were". During our short conversation she walked off 3 times to answer the phone to other patients calling in. She made no apology for this and just grunted that they were short staffed and she had to answer it like she had done for me. She made me feel awful for phoning for a genuine concern and like I was wasting her time. I am not a midwife and I do not know when something is an emergency or not. This is surely why we have the triage number and the triage ward and as my midwife had told me to call I had no other choice but to in case this was something serious.

After the doctor had seen us and carried out some tests he said that he would like me to go for a scan to make sure everything was ok. The doctor and midwife that accompanied him were really helpful and caring and actually took the time to listen to what I was saying.

The next morning I got called for an 'emergency scan' which I had to get to by 11am because it was "such an emergency". This was frightening in itself as the doctor had told us that the heart beat was reassuring and every thing looked fine for 30 weeks. When we got there a consultant did the scan for us and was again rude and treated us like we were wasting time. She asked me why I thought I needed a scan and why I thought my waters had broken. i was too shocked to answer but my oartner thankfully got annoyed and said that it was the doctor that was concerned about these things and that he wanted us to have the scan. We had not requested it.

I cannot fault Queens for reacting to my worries. Everything was done very fast and I was put at rest by the tests and scans that were organised. However the manner in which it was done was awful. I am 27 and this was the first time I had ever been to hospital so it was a bit of a shock. These events really upset me and I will probably wait for my community midwife if I ever have any more problems. I do not want to be made to feel like that again it's unfair and upsetting.

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Response from Queen's Hospital

Thank you for telling us more about your experience and I’m glad that we were able to give you the reassurance you needed. I’m very sorry to hear though that you did not have a good experience in maternity triage. You’re right to highlight that it is very difficult for pregnant women to be sure whether there is a serious problem, and we would always encourage you to seek advice if you have a concern. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel that they would not have their concerns taken seriously. We see patients in order of clinical need rather than time of arrival, so this can mean a wait for some patients. Staff may need to leave patients to assess or treat others with a more urgent problem. However, there is no excuse for staff to be rude or abrupt, and I am working with my staff to improve the experince in our triage area. I will share your feedback with our staff. Yours sincerely Wendy Matthews Director of Midwifery

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