Mummy stuff, Pregnancy

Complaining against a midwife

Those of you who started reading my blog from the very beginning about a year ago might remember the awful birth experience I had at UCLH. To be precise, the majority of the staff was amazing; there was just one person that acted a bit, well, ‘off’.

The NHS complaint procedure states that complaints have to be made within a year. I would have left it even longer, if I could. Rummaging around in my maternity notes and reading through what had happened made me feel physically sick. Actually, Big M had to read though them and double check if I got the facts right in my letter, as I couldn’t face it.

I am not interested in a revenge of any kind. I just want to make sure that this person gets a warning and that she won’t treat anybody else the way she has treated me.

Saying that I won’t ever want to have a baby again would be a step to far. But I am most certainly put off the whole ‘natural birth’ path. Elective Caesarean? Oh yes!

The letter will be put into the post tomorrow, with a copy to our local MP. (Thanks for the tip, Zoo!) This is going to be interesting. I’ll keep you posted.


  1. I recieved some truely terrible treatment when I had J but never had the courage to complain against the NHS. You are extremely brave and strong to go ahead and do so! well done! I really admire you for that 😀

  2. Well done you! I had a terrible time too with child one – luckily child two arrived in one hour so barely time to get scared!

  3. Well done for being brave and complaining – I hope that they do something about this person xx

  4. Oh poor you….and good for you for taking it further.

    I had both of my children at the Royal Free in Hampstead, an NHS hospital. I know people who haven’t had great experiences there but I have to say for me, although my two births were almost total opposites, I had really positive experiences…..and I know that counts for everything.

    The midwives were amazing, first time round particularly when my daughter arrived two weeks early and I was in shock!

    I am always thankful that I had such a great experience and good treatment otherwise it would have been easy to have been put off doing it again – I think when you look back at the whole labour process, for me anyway, you tend to remember the people rather than some of the process since for me it was a very painful and long blur!

    I am sorry that you had to go through what you did….

  5. PS I have booked a facial at Dermacia – thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  6. Well done! Women deserve a good treatment, and your complaint hopefully will help other women be more respected. All the best, Marta

  7. Well done! I had my own unpleasant experience with a maternity nurse when I had my son. I could never understand why a woman would be so inconsiderate and uncompassionate (and just down right awful!) to another woman in one of life’s most stressful and delicate states, just hours after giving birth. I hope you get the justice you are looking for!

  8. Well done! I had an nasty experience with a maternity nurse, when I had my son. I have never understood why anyone, let alone another woman, would want to treat someone with such inconsideration and lack of compassion at one of the most stressful and delicate moments in your life, just hours after giving birth. I hope you get the justice you are looking for!

  9. good luck with the complaint and i hope you get the justice you deserve xxxx

  10. Good luck with it! Can you share your letter (I’d understand if you can’t – esp. if you name names)?

  11. Good luck. My sister is soon to give birth in London and I’m hoping for her she gets a good midwife.

  12. good for you- if you can stop even one other Mum to be having an awful experience it will be worth it- and hopefully will help you. As an aside my Father wrote to his local MP about a problem he had with the NHS and has received no reply- which I am quite disgusted by.

    I am afraid the NHS is far from what it was and the morale within it seems utterly terrible

  13. Sorry to hear about your terrible experience but having done things both ways, I wouldn’t recommend a c-section unless you can avoid it. The recovery time is a right pain.

  14. Well done!! Everybody should do the same.
    My daughter birth wasn’t the most beautiful in earth. And if I decide to have another baby, it will be Elective Caesarean FOR SURE. No discussion. And an induction will not be discussed because caused some problems such as bleeding and blood transfusion. Good Luck

  15. Sorry to hear you had a bad time. I have experienced both very good and very bad midwives having both my babies in London. I could have complained about someone after Littleboy 1, but like you, I did not particularly want to have to go back and remember it all. Well done for getting yourself together enough to write the letter.

  16. Good for you. When I had my first (tricky birth too) there were two midwives who I feel I should have complained about. I wish I had complained but it was 4.5 years ago. And for some time afterwards you don’t complain because you don’t want to revisit it. I feel cross some can treat women the way they do. Good luck with your complaint!

  17. Good for you, perhaps if more complaints were made, the entire service would improve. I had my first two babies at the same hospital (1st was born 8 weeks early) and I found every person I came across in the hospital completely wonderful, like angels, however 2nd baby experience was awful and I got out of there as soon as I could. Every women will have a different experience and perhaps it just depends who you get on the day in question xxxxx

  18. Definitely send the letter of complaint to your MP, ours, Anne Maine, got us a written apology from the head of the NHS Trust when they left Claire alone in a room with pneumonia and didn’t answer her alarm call for 3 hours.

  19. Nobody should be treated badly or unkindly during childbirth – you are so right to do this so that nobody else gets treated like that

    Well done you

  20. Okay – I’ve been back and read what happened. What a terrifying experience and horrible midwife. I am so glad that you are going to complain. I can understand why you felt you couldn’t do it sooner. It makes my blood boil when I hear about the government banging on about ‘Maternity Matters’ – how every woman should be getting the best treatment – seeing the same midwife throughout, the choice of care, the daily visits once you’re back at home. Of course they should be – but they’re not delivering on it (excuse the pun). I lost count of the number of midwives I saw throughout. I didn’t have an appalling experience like you – just they were so busy, so rushed off their feet, so stretched. I wonder how many of them opt out and leave the profession because they simply can’t give the standard of care they want to. I listened to a programme on Woman’s Hour recently where they were saying exactly that. Yours just sounds like she shouldn’t even be in the profession. I’m just so glad, that after everything, you had a ‘good outcome’ and that your beautiful baby girl and you were alright.

  21. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. I found the birth of my little one traumatising but the people around me were really good so it was just bad luck. I don’t know how it works in the UK (although I am from there!) but here in Berlin the midwives run the labour room and mine was a goddess. A great midwfie makes a huge difference, a bad one clearly can do but sadly to the oppositve affect.

  22. You’re right to complain. I should have, after my first, but I suppose I never thought of it.

  23. I went back and re-read your birth story (couldn’t remember the details). Good for you, pursuing this.

    By the way, be careful what you say on the internet. Read the recent posts on libel on “Who’s the Mummy?” blog. Even if you don’t use names, if you’ve named the hospital, you might be liable. I don’t know how these things work, but you need to take care.

  24. Monica says

    I am thinking also to seek some justice in my birth story!

    My midwife has been wonderful to me, gave me great care but, after my water broke, she gave me poor advice that resulted in my son having to stay in the hospital for antibiotics treatment for 7 days after birth.

    I don’t want to say that she’s the only one responsible. We took the decisions all three of us (my midwife, my husband and I) and I think we should share in the consequences (including financial ones).

    Do you think I have a point?

    Thanks so much.

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