Maternity services at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings reviewed by Healthwatch

May 2, 2018

Most women and families interviewed by Healthwatch East Sussex (HWES) spoke about positive experiences citing friendly, warm, helpful staff as a main factor for their experience. However, nearly all said they viewed the unit to be understaffed. Feedback gathered on line also showed many women and their partners have a really good or excellent service, but  some patients and their partners are reporting very poor experiences.

In October 2017 Healthwatch East Sussex (HWES) visited the Maternity Unit at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and ran an on line survey to find out how women and their families were experiencing the service as part of their Listening to Hastings report. This activity provided HWES with an opportunity to re-engage with patients and families using the service following a more formal review back in 2016. A total of 16 women were spoken with over two visits and 133 (mix of women, partners and their families) provided feedback by an on-line survey.  A further 50 reviews and comments were left on the Healthwatch East Sussex Facebook page.

Read the report here

What patients told us:

  • ‘same midwife from start to finish was excellent’
  • ‘Staff friendly and helped me with breast feeding’
  • ‘no communicating between staff! Told something different each time, nobody listens to comments!’

From the on line responses HWES concluded that:

  • 38 of the experiences shared were positive, often very positive and patients left very complimentary reviews about their and their families experiences
  • 44 of the experiences shared were largely negative, reflecting where patients and their families felt failings in their care and treatment affected their overall experiences
  • 11 of the experiences provided a mixture of both negative; and the remainder left no experiences to review.

Examples include:

The care throughout my time in both wards and delivery suite was excellent. Also the care in theatre was excellent this time around delivering my second child – couldn’t fault them’

‘the un-nurturing attitude of the midwives at the Conquest – for a scared first time mum, who never experienced labour and delivery before, I did not feel I was well looked after when I was at my most vulnerable’

Other themes respondents commented on included ‘Staff attitude, cleanliness and privacy and dignity’ which again were very mixed and repeated themes from 2016.

Sarah Blanchard-Stow, Assistant Director of Midwifery and Nursing at the Trust said:

We are committed to providing the safest and highest quality care to the people of East Sussex. This aim is greatly supported by the valuable relationship that we have with Healthwatch East Sussex and the insight that their work offers about our services. We welcome all feedback and we are committed to using this to enhance our patients’ experience’

Elizabeth Mackie, Project Lead at Healthwatch East Sussex added:

It is really encouraging on behalf of patients to receive such a positive response from the Assistant Director of Midwifery and Nursing, even when there is some negative feedback to report. We look forward to progressing our involvement with the Trust and are discussing next steps, which include a light touch approach to review Eastbourne services. On behalf of volunteers who undertake our independent reviews, it is so rewarding when a Trust implements changes based on what patients told them, such as reviewing overnight visiting, addressing cleanliness concerns and sharing the report with Housekeeping staff so they are aware of findings around privacy and dignity’.

Overall, Healthwatch is pleased to report that there have been some improvements noted, however there are still areas of concerns identified in the report (view full report here).

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