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Two midwives to 24 women, reports Whipps Cross patient
A mother who recently gave birth at Whipps Cross University Hospital has described how she experienced long delays and saw midwives “run ragged” due to staff shortages.
Victoria Beaver, 29, and her husband Toby Beaver, 42, of Brook Crescent, Chingford, have submitted a formal complaint to Barts Health Trust, which runs the Leytonstone hospital.
Mrs Beaver said she had to wait ten hours to be induced before giving birth to her second child, Harry, on September 28.
She claimed she waited two hours to get on to a maternity ward and a further eight hours before she was finally moved to the labour ward, which had been pre-booked by appointment.
When she complained, she was informed that there were only two midwives on shift to deal with 24 women and their babies and told she may be sent home.
Mrs Beaver said: “I do feel sorry for the staff up there but people need to know how bad things are.
“Two midwives for that many people just is not fair. They are really understaffed and they are run ragged.”
Mr Beaver, who wrote the letter of complaint, said: “Are you seriously telling me that that’s an acceptable ratio for a hospital to operate under? Are we living in Britain or Africa?”
Mrs Beaver has a condition known as symphisis pubis dysfunction (SPD), which means her pelvis does not align properly and requires her to be induced.
This was the case with her first child, daughter Lucie, born just over two years ago, when Mrs Beaver had a similar experience at the hospital.
She said: “It was like living my worst nightmare again.
“It’s the not knowing, the neglect and not being kept up to date.”
A report published in August by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that severe staff shortages at Whipps Cross had led to maternity wards shutting on more than twenty occasions in the last two years.
The CQC report also said inspectors had seen “examples of poor care, unacceptable staff behaviour and poor infection control in maternity services.”
A spokeswoman from Barts Health said there should always be a ratio of one midwife to ten patients, in line with national standards.
She said: “The clinical safety and wellbeing of our mothers and babies is our absolute priority at all times.
“On duty at any one time there are sufficient midwives to provide one to one care for women in established labour.
“In the event of unexpected staff shortages or peaks in activity, we would immediately seek to replace those individuals by recruiting fully qualified midwives from our temporary bank staff.
“Our aim is to ensure that every mother and baby has the best possible care and we will be looking into every aspect of Mrs Beaver’s complaint.”
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