London's maternity services have been rated among the worst in the country by new mothers. They were asked about the care they received when in labour.
The top complaints included being left alone when they felt vulnerable, and not having their concerns taken seriously.
Out of the 7 worst rated hospitals from the findings, 6 are in London.
- Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Barts Health NHS Trust
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
- Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Lewisham Health Care NHS Trust
- North West London Hospitals NHS Trust
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
The Care Quality Commission poll of more than 23,000 women across England also found 19% of women felt their concerns during labour and birth were not taken seriously. 13% of women were left alone and worried during early labour, 9% during later stages, 2% during the birth and 9% were left alone and worried just after the birth.
One mother said:
In the ward, night staff were very rude.
They didn't help me at all. I had an emergency C-section and asked a night staff (midwife) to bring me the formula milk, and her answer was 'go and take it yourself'.
My baby was crying and she didn't help me.
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards added:
Women and their partners are being left alone when it worries them, toilets and wards are described as unclean, and some women are not given the pain relief they had expected or planned to use in their birth plan.
Further findings of note include those about continuity of care, these suggest to me that women do not mind seeing different midwives if the information and messages they receive is consistent.
Feedback in the comments shows at times a truly shocking picture of experiences that should be the most joyous time in a woman's life, not the most frightening.
David Wood has been following the story.