Ryde and Wyong are the best public hospitals to give birth in, according to maternity patients

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Ryde and Wyong are the top public hospitals in NSW to give birth in, according to a survey of maternity patients.

Fairfield Hospital scored the least favourable results out of the state's 61 public hospitals.

And patients in south-western Sydney were not as happy with their care as new mothers in other local health districts.

Vanessa Huang with her children Theodore and Hugo, both of whom were born at Ryde Hospital.
Vanessa Huang with her children Theodore and Hugo, both of whom were born at Ryde Hospital.  Photo: Steven Siewert

Ryde Hospital was rated significantly higher than other public hospitals in most aspects of care, including labour and birth and postnatal hospital care, according to a report by the Bureau of Health Information.

The results do not surprise Vanessa Huang, who gave birth to her sons Theodore, 3, and 18-month-old Hugo, at Ryde Hospital.

Ms Huang said she had "a wonderful experience" as a maternity patient.

She initially picked Ryde because it was the closest hospital "and then when I met my midwife and got to know more about it I was like 'Wow, why do people go anywhere else?'"

Ms Huang said the skill and care of the midwives was more important than the quality of the facilities.

"The rooms at Ryde are pretty dingy but half the time you're screaming with your eyes shut so you're not looking at it," she said. "And the other half of the time you're listening to what the midwife is telling you.

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"So put your money where the midwife is, not where the decor is."

The survey of almost 5000 – about one in 20 – women who had a baby in a NSW public hospital in 2015 examined their care during pregnancy, labour and birth in the hospital, and also follow-up visits at home.

The new mothers were asked to complete the maternity care survey about three months after the birth of their baby.

Other hospitals scored highly by patients for the overall experience of antenatal care, hospital care during labour, birth and after the baby was born were Blue Mountains, Queanbeyan and Wyong.

The number of maternity patients who said they would "speak highly" of their experience at these hospitals to friends and family was significantly higher than at other NSW hospitals.

In contrast, Fairfield Hospital was marked down by patients for hospital care during labour and birth.

The proportion of patients at Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool and Tamworth hospitals who said they would "speak highly" of their maternity experience was significantly lower than others.

Northern Sydney and southern NSW were the best-performing local health districts in the survey, while south-western Sydney reported the lowest level of satisfaction from patients when it came to the overall experience of maternity care.

"One of the factors impacting on the performance of hospitals like Ryde and Wyong is that these maternity units provide midwife-led care for women with uncomplicated pregnancies," said Dr Nigel Harvey, a deputy secretary at NSW Health.

"Women do not stay as inpatients at Wyong and Ryde Hospitals and return home soon after birth, when it is safe and appropriate to do so, with ongoing and continuous support at home from the same midwife who supported birth at the hospital."

BHI chief executive Dr Jean-Frederic Levesque said maternity patients in south-western Sydney were less satisfied about communication and their involvement in decisions about their care.

They were also more critical about the cleanliness of the wards or rooms used after the birth of the baby.

"In bigger hospitals, there are generally larger numbers of patients and perhaps a greater sense of anonymity for patients," he said.

Dr Levesque said most women had good experiences of maternity care in NSW public hospitals. Almost eight in 10 said they would speak highly about the hospital where they had their baby.

However, maternity patients were less satisfied with postnatal care in hospitals compared with antenatal care, labour and birth or follow-up care at home

"The report shows that improvements could be made in the experience of hospital care in the days after birth, however, this is a finding we see in other states and overseas as well," he said.