Walking The Patch

Brighton and Hove MSLC December – May 2015

Brighton and Hove MSLC is a very active group, with regular meetings around six a year that include all who have an interest and or provider of maternity services in the city.

We regularly complete ‘Walk the Patch’ questionnaire sessions on the post natal ward at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and at baby and you groups across the city.  These responses are collated and distributed to all involved to give updates on the opinions of new mothers in the city.

The themes that have emerged from these questionnaire sessions from the previous 6 months are:

Ante-natal care –

  • There is a lack of continuity of care, with many women commenting that they saw different community midwives during their pregnancy.
  • Of those who attended the ante-natal classes there was a positive response regarding the usefulness of the classes but comments about the running of these classes were negative including the midwife running the class being late, the third class being cancelled but not being informed that it was cancelled, there were only 2 classes instead of the 3 that there should have been.
  • The length of waiting time for screening scans and not being informed about this wait.
  • Seeing different consultants who all had different plans.

Care during early labour –

  • There were a lot of comments about triage – with women having to wait long times in triage, feeling that they had been forgotten, being sent off for a walk and then returning shortly and being in full labour.
  • A lot of women felt that they had not been listened too when contacting or attending at triage – being sent away and then being in advanced second stage of labour, multips being asked how they knew that they were in labour.
  • The induction environment – with there having women on the ward for different reasons, feeling that they were being forced to have an induction, the lack of information regarding the options for induction, different advise after waters had broken.
  • There were positive comments from women who had planned caesarean sections where they had time with a midwife to talk through the process.

Birth –

  • Lots of positive comments about 1:1 care and advise from midwives and SOM.
  • Some women felt that they were not offered any choice and felt swept along with the agenda of the hospital and lack of communication during birth.
  • The pain relief support was commented on with women asking for epidurals to be performed and that the type that they wanted was a misconception then all too late, or that it was not possible as the anaesthetist was busy as an operative birth was going on, or the epidural ran out.

Post natal –

  • Lots of multips feeling that they were left and not getting any support.
  • Women feel that they get conflicting and different advise regarding breast feeding especially when they see different midwives and support workers.
  • Lots of comments about the food.
  • There is a feeling that the post natal ward is understaffed and that staff are over worked.
  • Would help if partners were able to stay, many women commented this.
  • Various comments about the cleanliness of the ward including – sheets not being changed regularly enough, dirty curtains and cots, floors not being cleaned regularly.
  • Positive comments about breast feeding peer supporters.

Overall women think that the people are friendly and work well, with lots of positive comments about midwives going above their duty.

The main changes that would improve services are more staff, letting partners stay, improve triage and food both the type and somewhere near the ward where partners can get food.

These results support the main areas that the MSLC have been working towards in the last 12 months – supporting the development of a birth centre in the city – especially along with the NICE guidelines that women should be offered this for their birth options. The high induction rate with an average of 25.1% in the last year (April 2014 – March 2015).  The total caesarean section rate an average of 26.3% (April 2014 – March 2015).  With information and support on all aspects of mental health both antenatal and post natal.


Partners are now able to stay overnight on the ward. New reclining chairs have been put onto the post natal ward meaning mother’s now have the support of their partners without the worry of them being sent home after hours (Nov 15)


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