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Dispatches - Undercover Mother

(103 Posts)
Naetha Tue 24-Jul-07 09:38:16

Did anyone else here watch this? It terrified the life out of me, but I felt I ought to know what I was going in for,

The question is, is the post-natal hospital care really as bad as it appeared in that programme? The communication between midwives and patient was appalling - not only jumbled up gibberish, but also treating the mother like she's an imbecile, and frankly a pain in the arse.

Please give me some positive comments about hospitals!

crokky Tue 24-Jul-07 09:39:44

My antenatal care was good, delivery care was amazing. My postnatal care was shockingly bad. Sorry!

mixedmama Tue 24-Jul-07 09:40:18

Oh, I wanted to watch this and completely forgot, does anyone know if they will be repeating?

dal21 Tue 24-Jul-07 09:43:00

I have sky +'d and am in 2 minds whether to watch now. Ignorance is surely bliss! How did it compare to the panorama one?

RedFraggle Tue 24-Jul-07 09:45:36

I forgot to watch this but my post-natal care was ok both times. The under-staffing was apparent but I wasn't neglected and was always treated politely and with care. I am in the North west and have been to different hospitals for each of my two births.

Meeely2 Tue 24-Jul-07 09:46:21

i had premature twins, antenatal care was excellent as was my postnatal. My only gripe was they checked me too often and all i wanted to do was sleep! "have you had a movement yet madam?" "i twitched my right toe does that count?"

nightshade Tue 24-Jul-07 09:54:51

to be perfectly honest i thought the programme was atrocious and i really felt that the journalist sensationalised a lot of what was going on.

if people going to nhs hospitals, where we all know that there are shortages, expect to be lifted and laid, given first class one to one treatment, then they are going to be disappointed.

i also find it disappointing that having chosen to undergo an elective csection, that the journalist in question (presumably educated) lay there relying on staff to tell her when, how and what should be happening.

surely she should have done some research herself and taken SOME responsibility for her own care.

programme for me only highlighted the negative attitude that this society has taken towards childbirth and how completely medicalised it has all become.

have to say that my delivery was fine, after care perfectly acceptable however i had already done plenty of reading and was able to put most of what i knew into play with only minimal asssistance.

ps do not wish to offend anyone who has had a terrible experience but i just feel that this particular journalist uncovered nothing other than her own bad attitude and ignorance.

margoandjerry Tue 24-Jul-07 09:56:59

This did not surprise me at all. I had such flakey, uninterested ante natal care (UCH in London) that I wimped out of having the baby there and went private.

My sister told me that on her ward she rang the bell for an hour to get someone to pass her crying baby to her (she had had a cs so couldn't move). The woman in the other bed was crying with distress because her baby was crying too and neither of them got any help.

I think the London mat services are a disgrace.

margoandjerry Tue 24-Jul-07 10:00:50

Nightshade, your post is bizarre. She "lay there" because she had just had a cs and had just given birth. What did you want her to do? Leap up and make soup?

I had an elective CS too - in the sense that my daughter was scheduled to be 10 lbs and I wanted to avoid the induction that caused my sister to have 4th degree tears with her 10 lb baby. Because my waters broke and I didn't go into labour I had the choice of CS or induction. I chose CS for the reasons given. As it turned out the right choice as her position meant both of us would have been risking our lives with a normal labour.

Do we not deserve to be looked after, treated gently, have things explained to us, brought our breakfast when we can't move?

MegBusset Tue 24-Jul-07 10:01:21

I have to agree with Nightshade, thought this was an example of really shonky 'journalism'. For example, complaining of being 'pressured' not to have an elective cs. Actually, all the doctor did was tell her that she had the right to change her mind at any time (surely a good thing).

To the OP: lots of people have good (and bad) experiences in hospitals. I couldn't fault the postnatal care in mine, even though it is seen as a 'poor' NHS hospital (Chase Farm in Enfield).

tasja Tue 24-Jul-07 10:03:12

My delivery and postnatal care was amazing. I was also in hospital before I gave birth with pre-eclampsia and the care was excelent. My antenatal care was ok. I say ok because I'm not at all satisfied with the care I got before reaching 20weeks. I was bleeding heavily at 16 weeks and no one seems to want to help me. Just shrugged it off as not important. After 20 weeks it got better - seeing the midwife at my regular check-ups.
They should do more about your care before 20 weeks.

tasja Tue 24-Jul-07 10:04:24

wanted to add - I live in Northampton. I think the care in London is that bad because there is so many people living in London.

margoandjerry Tue 24-Jul-07 10:05:34

I didn't think the "pressure" not to have a CS was particularly severe but I did think it was perfectly clear the woman knew what she was doing and didn't need the patronising talk about not having a CS.

I missed the start so I don't know what happened with her first child but it was obviously something she didn't want to go through again. What's difficult to understand about that?

nightshade Tue 24-Jul-07 10:07:21

m&j, my point is that long after she should have been up walking about, the journo chose to continue lying in bed, waiting for staff to give her permission to do so.

my poinjt is, that as an educated person, she surely should have read up on post op recovery and endeavoured to put that in to practice.

margoandjerry Tue 24-Jul-07 10:12:43

you can't get up until someone helps you - you just need someone to guide you and you feel very vulnerable so it's normal to wait until someone medical is there to help you.

Last time I had an op (not birth) I stood up the next day when I came round properly and immediately threw up then fainted...

There wasn't anything terrible in her care - it was just casual and thoughtless. What's wrong with asking for a bit of care? A midwife to lend you a hand while you stand up? A paediatrician to come when they say they'll come? A breakfast brought to you when you can't move?

All simple stuff.

nightshade Tue 24-Jul-07 10:15:16

exactly, so why try and make a sensationalist, undercover programme out of thoughtlessness. as you say, there was nothing terribly wrong with the care she received.

Meeely2 Tue 24-Jul-07 10:16:45

I had a natural delivery but i was still brought breakfast on the first morning i was in (i stayed 12 days as my babes were in special care)....natural or c-section, you've just been through a very traumatic time so to expect you to get up and sort yourself out is harsh, i was very impressed as i also got my own room as i didn;t have my babies with me.

margoandjerry Tue 24-Jul-07 10:21:49

but it just wasn't good enough. It wouldn't be difficult to make it better but it seems as though the will just isn't there.

I'm a big fan of the NHS but maternity services are just not good enough. Here's my example. When I was pg I came into contact with chickenpox. My hospital decided to analyse my blood to see if I had already been exposed. I called 25 times over the next two weeks to get the results...
My daughter is now 9 months old and I'm still waiting.

I never saw a midwife (only healthcare assistants) despite having a high risk pg (my fourth - three previous failures). I was also tested as having borderline gestational diabetes. I asked to see the midwife for advice on diet. Again, still waiting.

Here's the thing. No one died. It was fine. But not through their care and attention.

I am educated and I went away and sorted it out myself. Read up about GD and got a glucose monitor.

The point about the journalist is that she is obviously able to sort stuff out herself if she needs to. But women without a partner to go and find someone to change the drip bag. Women who don't speak English well. Women who just don't know what to expect. All of these women should be able to rely on the midwives, not have to nag them all the time for X or Y or Z.

barbamama Tue 24-Jul-07 10:22:54

I watched the programme and felt very angry. Ok the journalist didn't have that bad an experience but she certainly wasn't treated well and what about the other mothers featured who had lost their babies for no reason? I had my first son at St Thomas's 2.5 years ago. The antenatal care was ok, labour acceptable, but the post-natal ward truly was the most shocking, traumatic time of my life - it was atrocious - 10 times worse than what was shown last night. It makes me very angry to think that nothing has been done about this in 2 years as I had assumed that I was unlucky and was there at a particularly busy time (just after Xmas) - not that that excuses the, and I'm sorry but there is no polite way of saying this, the callous, uncaring bitches that were in charge of my care, but I has assumed it was becasue they were mainly agency staff covering the holiday period.

mixedmama Tue 24-Jul-07 10:23:46

I had DS at UCH and I have to say it was perfectly fine and most of my friends had their children there and were satisfied some with extremely traumatic births.

I found my antenatal care a little haphazard at times, eg. my midwife kept forgetting to give me my notes so I got told off when i went for scans etc, my own midwife ended up delivering which was good.

I did find the post natal care a little shoddy at times, midwifes arguing amongst themselves about staffing levels etc. I was lucky I didnt have a CS or anything and could do most things... I did get contradictory advice from each of the midwives re breastfeeding and didnt feel particularly looked after, but I do think they do a very good job under quite extreme circumstances.

I didnt see the programme, but I hope it highlighted the problem with the NHS which I guess lays in the governments hands rather than the overworked midwives.

barbamama Tue 24-Jul-07 10:28:17

I'd just like to say I don't blame the midwives either - even though many I encontered (tho by no means all) had such poor communication skills that I could barely understand them. Clearly there is a huge issue with under-resourcing, and the midwives operate in a hugely stressful environment in the hospital I was at. I think over reliance on badly trained and uncaring agency midwives is probably a symptom of this.

I have to say that this time, against my better judgement, I am going to the local NHS hospital rather than a busy city hospital and so far, the midwives seem fantastic. Fingers crossed any post natal care will be too - this seems to be where NHS maternity services really fall down.

Mintpurple Tue 24-Jul-07 10:34:27


Cant blame agency staff all the time. As a midwife I do the occasional agency shift elsewhere and there are some hospitals in London that I wont go to because the 'regular' staff give such crap care that I end up picking up the pieces on the next shift.

Please dont blame all the woes on agency staff. Remember most agency staff are regulars somewhere else. If the standard of the agency midwife is bad, they will not be welcomed back to the hospital and they are very likely to be banned from that trust, thereby restricting their income.

Sorry for the hijack but I get fed up hearing agency staff blamed for everything that is not good in maternity.

mimicakey Tue 24-Jul-07 10:38:05

I totally agree with nightshade the programme was utter nonsense! The journalist had already decided on her conclusion before she went in and the whole thing was based on her experience plus a couple of other women, who (surprisingly!) agreed with the journalist!

Yes, there are obviously improvements to be made but we all have to equip ourselves as best we can. She said she'd read that women having had a cs should be up and moving within a certain amount of time so why didn't she get her husband to help her? Like someone else said, what about the women there without partners; surely they need more help?

Let's all be reasonable and try to get through this in a positive way. If we know there are shortages, you can't just go in and hope for best case scenario.

lailasmum Tue 24-Jul-07 10:39:03

My friend had this exact experience so its not a one off, she was in a different hospital

hotcrossbunny Tue 24-Jul-07 10:42:48

It felt all too familiar to me too. I don't think they realise that for many women ,giving birth is possibly the scariest, most shocking, undignified thing they have ever done. I am still reliving my dds birth 4 years later. From beginning to end it was awful. My mum can't believe how much worse things are since she had children... We are tyreated like numbers and targets not human beings who need human care

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