A new report has ranked Letterkenny University Hospital in joint-last place for maternity experiences.
The first National Maternity Experience Survey, published today, found that 26% of women had a ‘fair or poor’ experience of care in the maternity unit at Letterkenny University Hospital.
122 women who gave birth at the hospital in October and November 2019 shared their views for the survey. Most of the participants said they had a positive experience of maternity care, with 51% of respondents giving the hospital a 51% ‘very good’ rating and 23% giving a ‘good’ rating.
Across each stage of care, from antenatal care through to postnatal care at home, women who gave birth in Letterkenny University Hospital rated their care as similar to the national average.
The report includes women’s experiences of the care provided both in Letterkenny University Hospital, and by general practitioners and public health nurses based in the community.
The hospital scored highly on a question which asked women if they were treated with respect and dignity at home after the birth of their baby.
The lowest scoring question related to antenatal care focused on information about mental health, with 31.1% of women saying that they did not receive enough information about changes in their mental health while they were pregnant.
Women’s ratings on their decision-making experience were significantly below average at LUH. Twenty-three out of the 121 women surveyed said that they felt they were not involved in decisions about the care they received during their pregnancy.
The findings of the National Maternity Experience Survey will be used by Letterkenny University Hospital and community maternity care providers in the area to improve the maternity experiences of women who give birth in the hospital.
Commenting on the results, Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle said the survey highlights the need for the Saolta University Health Care Group to listen to the concerns of pregnant people.
Deputy Pringle said: “Maternity services must put pregnant people at the heart of decision-making. This survey raises many issues that Saolta and hospitals and hospital groups across the country must act on.”
Letterkenny was tied with Mayo University Hospital, also under the Saolta umbrella, which also saw 26 per cent of respondents give a “fair to poor” rating for their overall experience.
Deputy Pringle said: “This survey shows where maternity services need improvement and comes from the users of the services themselves. We can see where the problems are. It is now up to the hospitals to address these issues.
“I welcome this survey and thank all the people who shared their experiences for this study. Our hospitals need to take the lessons learned in this survey and apply them to the maternity services they offer.”