"There needs to be a person to speak to when..."

About: Medway Maritime Hospital

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I have recently moved back to medway and not long after I found I was pregnant, instead of seeing my gp and being referred to the midwife like with my previous children I was told I'd have to call a number and book myself in, on calling the number there is a voice message to say you have to register online and not to leave a message unless i cant access the internet, now many days after registering I still have not heard anything! I find this process very daunting I was very poorly with my last child and aam getting anxious to speak with someone, even if it is just to get an appointment so I know how long I'm expected to wait! Thank god for east Kent NHS (where I moved from) I called them once and they sent me out the relevant prescriptions and consultant appointments the same day. I would suggest scraping this ridiculous system and giving mums to be a person to speak to to put their minds at ease as a mother already I know what to expect and am still anxious it must be very upsetting for first time mothers, let patients know where they stand!

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Response from Medway Maritime Hospital

We are very sorry to read about your experience with our maternity service so far at Medway. We are keen to provide an efficient and patient centred approach to maternity care and are always enthusiastic about developing the service to make it easily accessible to service users. Two years ago we reviewed how service users access midwifery care and realised that trying to contact the service within office hours was often not feasible for everyone. We set up the online referral form so that service users could refer themselves to Medway in there own time and access midwifery support early. The referrals come to one central location and are checked by one person who sends them out to the appropriate team of midwives dependant on the area in which the patient lives. This system works extremely well, and the service user is contacted within 10 working days of the referral. We understand that some people feel uncomfortable about using an IT system to access care and for that reason we still have a telephone booking line if that is the preferred method of communication, however this is an answer machine message which allows users to leave their contact details, which are in turn passed onto the relevant team on a daily basis, much like the online referral. We apologise in this instance the system failed for you and appreciate your feedback. We are always keen to improve our services anywhere we can. Suzanne Freeman Lead Midwife for Antenatal Services 01634 830000 X6727

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