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Could we have a MN campaign for improved Postnatal care?

(358 Posts)
AtYourCervix Wed 06-Jul-11 10:56:59

Reading the many threads on here it appears that Postnatal care is the most frequently complained about area of the maternity service.

In-patient stays in hospital - Women feel neglected, ignored and unsupported and Postnatal visits at home are rushed and women are 'lucky' to see a midwife 3 times.

I strongly suspect that with NHS cutbacks ths is only going to get worse and I think it is not good enough.

Ideas and opinions please.

Tuppenyrice Wed 06-Jul-11 11:01:36

I think we need a campaign that targets society in general to allow women to recover from childbirth and rest. Getting up & about, doing the school run 24 hours after the birth etc all too common now. If we could educate the husbands and extended family inti realising that superwoman is a myth then being kicked out of hospital within 12 hours of the baby being born might not be so terrible. Women need a bit of looking after!

Meglet Wed 06-Jul-11 14:26:16


FWIW I was sobbing with pain / fed up with the midwives after my EMCS, mum spoke to the head midwife and she came round to see me and apologised for the situation and insisted I was to buzz for everything. She said she wasn't happy about the post natal care. The midwife in my birth relfections apt had a good rant about the post-natal care and the nurses in the gynea ward after my hysterectomy didn't have a good word to say about the PNN care on the maternity ward.

I was on pain relief for 6 weeks following my EMCS as I was made to get up and try and get back to normal.

I was on paracetamol for 7 days after my planned cs and 4 days after my hysterectomy as I didn't lift a finger. The PN care first time around still makes me sad angry even 5 years on. I know its lack of money but I wish it didn't have to be that way.

AtYourCervix Tue 26-Jul-11 17:38:52

AHEM <<clears throat>>


gallicgirl Tue 26-Jul-11 18:13:35

FWIW the info I had about post-natal care is what made me determined to have a home birth. I had fabulous care during my HB and wouldn't ever consider a hospital birth unless I absolutely had to.

nojustificationneeded Wed 27-Jul-11 10:02:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingbohemian Wed 27-Jul-11 10:33:25

MNHQ, please please please read the thread at the link above, pages and pages of women detailing their horrific -- and largely unnecessary -- experiences on postnatal wards, all across the country.

Women and babies are suffering, in some cases with long-lasting medical problems and PND, because of this.

There are women saying they will never have another baby because of this.

I can hardly think of a more worthwhile campaign for MN to take up.

jinxediam Wed 27-Jul-11 10:34:07

This is a brilliant idea for a campaign. I didn't complain after my experience as I was too ill and exhausted to do so which saddens me as it makes what I went through seem ok.

A postnatal ward with 2 night midwives and over 28 ladies is not acceptable.

Being immobile/numb/bedbound and expected to get your own food is not acceptable.

No access to painkillers/decent sanitation is not acceptable.

Having to rely on other patients visitors to get to my choking baby as the buzzers didnt work is not acceptable.

Being shouted/belittled/ignored for needing help is not acceptable.

I never expected the birth to be a hotel experience but I didn't expect to have to desperately phone family members for water, food, painkillers and beg them to get me out of there! God help the many women on my ward that I met that couldn't speak much English.

A dog at my local vets would have been treated with more dignity.

dreamingbohemian Wed 27-Jul-11 10:45:10

'A dog at my local vets would have been treated with more dignity.'

This is so true, great point!

MumblingRagDoll Wed 27-Jul-11 10:46:42

I second the idea about being expected to walk down long corridors for meals when you''re stitched up 12 hours after a section...pushing your newborn in their crib in front of you. Nobody comes to offer a drink of anything...Ihad to shout for water....couldn't tea or anthing unless my partner fetched a flask.

I was shaking and in agony and still had to get my meals. My partner was not allowed in one ay because my sster had already visited. hmm and I had my quota.

Nobody came to help me bathe the baby for 48 hours but they would not discharge me.

Mrsxstitch Wed 27-Jul-11 10:56:07

I agree we need a campaign but have no idea how to do it.

BagofHolly Wed 27-Jul-11 11:13:39

Glad you like my card idea! Whilst societal change is the ideal scenario, I think we could do with some quick wins which start to make a difference immediately and DON'T rely heavily on extra resources/mw/£, even though it's pretty much acknowledged that's what's needed longer term.

If every woman was given basic information even on basic "housekeeping" that alone would improve patient experience.

*Does anyone know what Key Performance Indicators there are in inpatient maternity services that we could hook into? *That way we would be on the same side as the Trusts, perhaps helping them meet targets, and enabling a more open and productive relationship in the longer term.

The temptation is to go steaming in with a litany of failure, whereas we might achieve more by partnering.

BagofHolly Wed 27-Jul-11 11:50:39

Oh no! Hope my know-allness hasn't killed the thread! sad

GibberingGinger Wed 27-Jul-11 11:51:53

Would definitely support a campaign for better postnatal care and for more postnatal midwives. My experience was horrific, but I think all of the problems wouldn't have happened if there was more staff. Let me know if there is any way I can help
PS. I'm NHS in scotland and supposedly we don't have a midwive shortage! <hollow laugh>

allhailtheaubergine Wed 27-Jul-11 11:57:32

Just posted this on the other thread by mistake so will repeat here:

The thing that puzzles me - my antenatal care at the hospital was brilliant; my care in labour was faultless; the same nurses all rotate between the three sections - so why was my post partum care so bloody diabolical?

What is it that changes between about to have a baby (good) / actually having a baby (good) / just had a baby (lamentable)?

What can we / they take from the other two and apply to post natal care?

BagofHolly Wed 27-Jul-11 12:01:39

Just posted reply on other thread

VivaLeBeaver Wed 27-Jul-11 12:05:51

It's because the staffing levels on the postnatal ward are the worst. This is because it's the least risky time so less chance of something happening that is so bad it results in loads of compensation being paid out.

The midwives are stressed and and at times this can/will result in women being snapped at, etc. I'm not defending midwives who are rude to women at all. I agree with what someone on the other thread said about it taking the same time to be polite to someone as to be rude to them. Just saying that sometimes midwives feel like they're at breaking point. The midwives I see sat there crying, thinking they can't carry on are always the ones on the postnatal ward.

Though I guess there are also some who are just nasty cows for no reason.

KristinaM Wed 27-Jul-11 12:18:45

I Support the need for a campaign

Its not just about staff shortages, there seemed to be plenty staff when i was in hospital

We need a cuture change in the wards particularly from the nursing staff. There seems to be an attitude that post natal patitenst are whinging nuisances who need to be kept in their place. I suspect its about power and control. I woudl be interetd to hear what the experts on teh feminist threads make of it

We dont hear anout men who have had major abmoninal surgery having pain relief or water withheld and told to queue for their food. Or indeed told that there is no food left. They dont seem to need to get their wives or mothers to intervene withthe staff to get them adequate care. Why is this?

PumpkinBones Wed 27-Jul-11 12:23:36

I am in support of a campaign. I think maybe it hasn't been done before, or is seen as a difficult thing to do, because of the variations between hospitals - ie food arrangements, visiting, etc, so any sort of pre-printed info would be difficult - but all postnatal wards could use the same template to provide information AND should be collecting feedback when people leave hospital about their experiences. Most of us would find it very difficult to challenge an agressive staff member but would be able to write down who had been rude to them, and also who had ben helpful - I know this would be an administrative burden potentially but surely there is a way it could be executed, would a patient liason service for example help?

posterofagirl Wed 27-Jul-11 12:35:39

Just some of my suggestions

1. Every woman should have a named midwife per shift who spends 10 mins after handover with them and finds out what they need/ let's them know what they can reasonably do given staff levels etc.
3.Women are given their own medication to manage unless it is a controlled drug, ditto calpol for baby.

Both of these ideas are free and would make a lot of difference IMO.

notcitrus Wed 27-Jul-11 12:47:14

Adding my name to call for this campaign.
I did write and complain about my postnatal care (antenatal care was fine, delivery care wonderful), and they said they were going to produce cards for every bed telling women when and where food was served, that there was a room with a telly and sofa in it for breastfeeding etc, what symptoms to look for, etc.

Apparently the reason daytime postnatal care was OK if rushed and nighttime care was appalling was that night MWs all came from an agency as they couldn't get cover otherwise. Surely this must be more expensive than properly staffing the ward? And doesn't excuse them being less good than the day staff.

Though in fact care assistants would be cheaper and still make a huge difference, being able to clean up women who needed a clean bed, give glasses of water, pass you your baby if you're on a drip/had a cs and can't reach the cot where your baby got put, etc.

allhailtheaubergine Wed 27-Jul-11 12:49:31

You know what would be really helpful and easy to implement?

A poster on the wall of the ward explaining the staff by uniform / duites.

I must have seen 100 different hospital care workers in various permutations of blue hospital scrubs. I had no idea who was a doctor, who was an SHO, who was a nurse, who was a midwife and who was a dinner lady.

It matters because when you can see cross, overworked carers snapping at people for asking the wrong question to the wrong person it makes you nervous to ask your own question.

I had one young woman sidle into my cubicle, mutter something about conjunctivitis and sidle out again. I eventually found out she was the doctor I had been asking to see to discuss mine and my baby's fever for 2 days.

BagofHolly Wed 27-Jul-11 12:51:32

That's a good idea. Some places already do it but it needs to be implemented better - like a poster on each ward.

Iggly Wed 27-Jul-11 12:59:26

I agree too. My postnatal care wasn't as bad as some experiences but I remember being appalled at the food - recovering after a birth and they offered one cold slice of beef with limp lettuce for lunch hmm plus being manhandled by midwives at every shift change and asked "what are you doing???" when I was humming to my new baby. Also I could barely walk to the food trolley (in the corridor) to get a meal so would lose out. Thank god my wonderful MIL made me meals every day otherwise I would have starved. Also don't get me started on the BF "help" with someone telling me I was feeding fine when DS couldn't latch on - now I realise this was because my milk had come in so boobs were too big!
I meant to complain but a) it's so bloody difficult to work out how so lost the will and b) I was so tired with a newborn I lost the will again!

dreamingbohemian Wed 27-Jul-11 13:11:15

Had a nosy around the web and found this from a King's Fund report this year looking at postnatal care:

'For me, the most striking finding is the potential for task-shifting. Highly qualified medical staff – who should be focused on the highest risk women – currently perform tasks that midwives could do just as effectively, while midwives perform duties that could be undertaken by nurses, and nurses, doctors and midwives undertake clerical work that should be done by administrative staff. This has serious implications for the safety and cost-effectiveness of services.'

Their basic point is that more staff are needed, but there's no point throwing more staff into an inefficient system.

But it makes me think -- are there hospital volunteer programmes in England? I'm actually from the States, and when I was a teenager a big thing was 'candy striping', volunteering a few hours a week at a local hospital. (anyone could do it but a lot of them were young people) Obviously you're not treating patients but you do a lot of the little things, definitely fetching food and water, sitting with patients who are upset, helping them to the bathroom and things. This freed up time for skilled staff and helped keep patients calmer.

Is there anything like that here?

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