Romford Queen’s Hospital maternity services: Is it a shambles or a well-run ship?

Conflicting accounts have emerged on maternity services at Queen’s Hospital, with two branches of the same health group giving it damming and glowing reports.

The vastly different findings – from the Havering and Redbridge branches of the Local Improvement Network (LINk) – give a mixed overview of services at the hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

While Redbridge LINk last week voiced “dismay” at the shocking care of women in labour, this week Havering LINk was “impressed” with a well-run ship.

The opposing reports place greater pressure on the Care Quality Commission to give a full and accurate picture in its continuing investigation of Barking, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) Trust.

As part of its assessment, Redbridge LINk held public meetings inviting women to talk about their experiences at the hospital.

It found:

? Patients who had stillbirths allegedly put on a ward with new mothers and babies.

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? A “general feeling that there was a lack of staff and their response was slow and negligent”.

? Women “being forced to remain longer in triage because emergencies were taking up rooms”.

? Poor pain relief administered by staff.

? A negative attitude of some staff, with one woman claiming a midwife made her feel like “I was a bit of an inconvenience”.

One woman who gave birth to a still born baby at Queen’s claimed she was “disturbed at regular intervals throughout the night by a midwife” who on one occasion said, “I’m here to take the baby to the fridge”.

However Havering LINk, which made an announced visit to the hospital on August 5, struggled to fault the maternity ward, stating: “It appeared to be efficiently run and feedback from patients and staff on that day was extremely positive.

“There was a tranquil feeling about the whole maternity. It was spotless and all the staff looked immaculate and were alert. They were also very friendly and only too happy to chat and answer our questions. They all seemed to love their jobs.”

When the Recorder questioned both LINks about the huge disparity between reports it was told the hospital had come a long way in recent months.

Joint-chairman of Redbridge LINk, Vanda Thomas, said: “We invited anyone from the community who had any contact with maternity services to share their experiences. Whereas they (Havering LINk) made an announced visit. They were looking at things now. I think that’s why the reports look so different.

“We had a meeting with BHR bosses and they put up their hands and said they’ve got some way to go but they are making improvements. They have put changes in place.”

Havering LINk steering group member, Jackie Richmond, said: “People who have a good experience tend to go away happy and not discuss it, whereas people who have a bad experience tend to raise their voices about it.”