We were let down by Queen’s Hospital maternity, but we’re going back

At the annual general meeting of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) in September an angry father stood up to accuse health chiefs of running an insufficient maternity service at Queen’s Hospital.

Steven Hanna told the board of the trust that he’d seen pregnant women giving birth on the floor of the Rom Valley Way hospital, when his wife Rachel was having her first baby.

BHRUT interim chairman Edwin Doyle offered the couple a tour of what he said were the improved maternity services available at the hospital.

The week before last, the Hannas had a tour which lasted an hour, and let them visit wherever they liked – and were convinced by the improvements they saw there.

Rev Hanna, an Anglican minister from Dagenham, said: “In May 2010 my wife Rachel was admitted to hospital early with pre-eclampsia, at 29 weeks – two months early. I must say that the care for our daughter was excellent, but they seemed to forget about her.

“My wife was put in the high dependency unit (HDU), which was staffed by midwives.

“Once when my wife told them they hadn’t put a needle in her arm properly the midwife just told her to straighten it out her arm and left the room.

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“They played music at their work station which was about three feet away from the beds. She was so distressed, she just wanted to see our baby in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), she burst into tears.”

But Rev Hanna, 41, said that after their tour he and Rachel, 34, who is again pregnant, were convinced enough by the changes to want to have their next baby there.

He said: “We came away feeling that real changes had been made and that the CQC inspection had a good effect.

“Changes they’ve made mean that everyone gets seen within half an hour, so there won’t be women giving birth on the floor anymore

“They’ve re-ordered the wards. Originally they had the ante and post-natal units backing onto each other, now the ante-natal unit has more beds for those that are waiting to be seen there’s actually more room.

“The HDU is now staffed by nurses and when I asked if there was music played they looked at me in horror and said ‘certainly not’.”

“And we got the impression that some of the midwives are pleased with the changes as well.”