As those of you who know me well know, I didn't think an awful lot of the postnatal care I got at Lewisham hospital. I have no major issues with my antenatal care, or with care during labour/delivery, but I felt that the postnatal care really was bad. I'm not the only one to have experienced this, quite a few of the local mums I have chatted to feel the same.
However, being a data analyst-type person in my day job, I know that the plural of anecdote is not evidence, so it was very interesting to see some hard evidence that points to my experience being rather more typical. Today the Healthcare Commission published the first results from the survey of maternity services carried out earlier this year. Overall results for England were positive but they noted significant variations within this by NHS Trust.
I had a look at Lewisham's results, obviously having an interest in this and having taken part in the survey myself. I haven't, I admit, done a comprehensive examination of the results for Lewisham - I rather hope that someone from within the trust will be doing that. I did look at the section on postnatal care in the hospital though, as that's where I'm really interested.
Someone in Lewisham NHS Trust needs to sit up and take notice of these results. Looking at mums' overall experience of care after birth, 23 per cent of respondents for Lewisham rated the care as poor, compared to 8 per cent nationally and a percentage as low as 2 per cent in the best performing trusts. Only Barts and the London did worse in the whole of England. Looking at this in a bit more detail: only 30 per cent of respondents in Lewisham said they were always treated with respect and dignity after the birth of their baby and 25 per cent said they were not treated with respect and dignity. This compares with 66 and 7 per cent respectively for the whole of England. Again only Barts and the London fare worse. Fourteen per cent of respondents said they were not spoken to in a way they could understand, compared with 3 per cent for England as a whole. This is the worst figure in the country. And, interestingly, 29 per cent of respondents felt they were kept in the hospital too long. I'm not surprised!
Obviously the information I've pulled out above is not comprehensive and there's a lot more to be read. I hope that Lewisham fares better on other aspects of maternity care, because it seems, in respect of postnatal care in the hospital, they've got a long way to go.