Today was our 20 week scan, a day which should have been a wonderful occasion for our growing family, but, due to a rule at The Royal Wolverhampton Trust, not previously stated or explained in any form, I was forced to miss the opportunity to see my baby and was left sitting outside the consultation room as my wife went in alone.
Being a full time dad and not having anyone to sit with our little lady during the working day, we decided that it would be nice for her to join us for the scan. We are a family and love doing things together so why wouldn't we want to share this moment with her too! What's more it would have been an ideal opportunity for her to be part of the process of learning about a new brother or sister joining the family which would hopefully ease the actual appearance of a new person come D-Day. So, in preparation, during the preceding the days leading up to the appointment we had been talking to her and explaining that we were all going to the hospital to see a 'magical TV' that would allow us to see her little baby brother or sister inside of mummy's tummy!
We arranged to meet mummy in the car park as she would be dashing back from work for the appointment. We all made our way into Cannock Hospital and located the ultrasound waiting room. We waited a short while before being called but as we all stood up to make our way into the consultation room we were told children were not allowed in. What?, surely this is a joke I thought to myself before being told 'this is in the letter'. My wife politely explained that no letter had been received with regard to the appointment only a text message reminding us not to miss the appointment, which of course we would not have done. With little choice, I waited outside. Whilst in the room, the nurse said that information should be on the green notes - again this was not the case. My wife explained that no information to the effect of not being able to take children into the scan was ever shared with us. Left with few choices, the scan proceeded and the five pounds was paid for one image. Previously, when the hospital was run under a different Trust, no charge was administered for images and more than one was received.
Sadly, I've missed out on this exciting opportunity. The 20 week scan, unless there are any anomalies, is the final scan so now it's about the wait. But there are a few things that have niggled away at me this afternoon as I've reflected in sheer disappointment due in no part to anything that we have done wrong.
We adhere to the rules. We don't park in parent bays when we don't have a child with us. We attend our scheduled appointments and call to cancel if ever, which is rare, we are unable to make them. We would have read any information that was provided to us with regard to not allowing children into the scan room IF we had been provided with it in the two afore mentioned forms we should have received it in: the non existent letter and the note on the 'green notes'. And, once we had read it, we would have adhered to it by making arrangements as appropriate. I also started to reflect this afternoon on the letter that was sent for the appointment for the 12 week scan. So, I have dug this out and nowhere does it mention in this letter that children are not allowed into the scan room. It does state twice that a fee will be charged for the image and it requests twice that I should make sure that I bring £5.00 coins to make this payment.
Interestingly, we were the only patients waiting to go into the scan room and we were the only patients who were in the waiting area after the scan so should the Trust have been able to make allowances, they had the ideal opportunity but, they didn't. In fact, while we all waited patiently a nurse associated with a doctor came over and commented on how beautifully patient and well behaved our little lady was. What better advocate for allowing our child in to the room. But still, no.
Now, don't get me wrong. I know there are a host of reasons as to why the Trust has rules - gosh, I live with a teacher! I know about rules. I recognise and appreciate that the 20 week scan is intended to spot any anomalies and so difficult news may have t0 be delivered during the event, which may intensify the situation and make it difficult to manage a two year old. I would suggest that if this occurred, it would be an ideal opportunity to suggest that the child is required to leave the room. However, at the start of the scan today my wife was asked if she wanted to know about any anomalies if any were highlighted, which is perhaps another opportunity to suggest that it may not be appropriate for a child to be in the room rather than issue a blanket non-admittance. Further, if a child was loud, agitated or misbehaving then this would be another point at which to suggest that they may not be able to enter, but she's not and she hadn't been for the duration of the time that we had waited. What's more, neither was she while she continued to wait for her mummy.
Obviously, as a two year old, the little lady didn't understand the issue and why she couldn't go in with mummy and daddy to see the picture of the baby as promised so like anyone would, I directed her attention to something else. On the other hand, I was left silently fuming outside the consultation room when I should have been sitting alongside my wife for one of the most amazing moments we could have shared together.
So, thanks Wolverhampton NHS Trust for your ineptitude; for your poor practice which has failed, it would appear in two instances, to provide accurate and thorough information to your patients about your rules and regulations. Thank you for spoiling what would have been a super moment for me. I will assume that as one of thousands of fathers who come through your doors every year it's not really in your interest to take much notice of my grievance - there'll always be a disgruntled patient - but I thought I'd share my experience with you in case you do reflect on the service that you provide and the limitations of, in this case, poor practice.
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