New mums give a thumbs down to Watford maternity ward toilets

Watford General Hospital.
Watford General Hospital.

Watford General Hospital’s maternity unit has been ranked highly by new mums in almost all areas, but the ward is falling below national standards of cleanliness.

An independent survey taken across the country shows parents using the hospital felt they were treated with respect and dignity, scoring 9.2 out of a possible 10, with the same score being given on whether they were spoken to in a way they could understand during labour.

The unit also received scores of between 8.9 and 9.5 on areas including involving partners in the birth, skin to skin contact with their babies after birth and confidence and trust in staff.

More than 350 women who gave birth in the unit were asked for their views, with 192 responding.

The results place Watford on a par with other maternity units, being rated ‘better’ or ‘about the same’ as all others in the country in 16 of the survey’s 17 categories. However, the unit’s rating for toilet and bathroom cleanliness fell below the national average, scoring just 6.9 out of 10.

Chief nurse at the hospital Jackie Ardley said: “I am disappointed that our new mums were unhappy with the cleanliness of our toilets and bathrooms.

“I have asked the head of midwifery to conduct an immediate review of the standard and frequency of cleaning on the maternity unit to ensure we meet the highest possible standards. If necessary, we will employ additional cleaners.”

Watford’s maternity unit – the go-to ward for many expectant mums in Dacorum - delivers around 6,000 babies a year. On Christmas Day, 16 new bundles of joy arrived, two of whom were born to Hemel Hempstead families.