Best hospital for c-section delivery in SE London

(33 Posts)
Sparklies Sun 14-Nov-10 17:21:49

I'm due with DC3 in May, and I absolutely medically have to have a c-section (permanent transabdominal cerclage (aka TAC) means nothing bigger than a pea coming out that way!!) which means I have to face the horror of a London postnatal ward for several days yet again.

I had a horrendous postnatal experience at my local Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, and that was just with a vaginal birth although their mistakes landed me back in hospital two weeks later with a post-partum infection so I know all about their postnatal ward. Never again.

DC2 was born at Kings College via EMCS - can't fault the medical care, but was very, very unhappy on the postnatal ward.

DH has BUPA cover through work and worst case scenario we can go private at Portland or St. Mary's (anywhere else is too far or not covered by BUPA) but it will cost a lot of money to cover the shortfall for the consultant.

I'm currently booked at Queen Elizabeth for practical reasons.. so I don't have to travel miles to midwife/scan/consultant etc appointments. I have no real complaints (yet!) with the consultant care there. However I am most definitely planning on swapping out at around 34 weeks.

Essentially I'm looking for the best hospital for postnatal stay following a c-section. A private room would be perfect but there are no guarantees anywhere for that. Also some vaguely competent doctors as I'm high risk * 2 or even 3 would be useful as well..!

I'd preferably like to go to a hospital that doesn't take two hours to get to, due to necessary end-of-pregnancy appointments and having two DC to lug around and me with SPD. I'm also at risk of PTL which means I might need to get there in a hurry due to ye olde ruptured uterus fear. So that leaves these hospitals:

Queen Mary, Sidcup
Princess Royal, Orpington
Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford
Lewisham Hospital
Kings College (already done, not too happy with the postnatal care, hard to reach in traffic)
St Thomas' (might be a bit far)

Or a bit further away - will only consider if it's really worth it!

Chelsea & Westminster (had my TAC here, loved Annie Zunz ward but it's not same as postnatal)
Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel
University College Hospital
St. Mary's, Paddington

All opinions and anecdotes welcome! Thanks!!

plantsitter Sun 14-Nov-10 18:15:06

If you were unhappy with Kings' postnatal care, don't go anywhere near Lewisham. From what I've heard ST Thomas's is your best bet.

plantsitter Sun 14-Nov-10 18:16:52

(sorry should have clarified - have personal experience of Lewisham but only friends' experiences at St T).

squiby2004 Sun 14-Nov-10 19:13:13

I had my c section at the Lindo Wing st Marys Paddington, well worth the money (athough ppp picked up 85%) of the costs and would go back again in a heartbeat!!

Mumcah Sun 14-Nov-10 21:01:24

Lewisham post natal was awful,however they do have private rooms if u can get one.

I had DS at kings in may and we were in for a week after,I had very good care.They post natal has a new manager so I don't know if that has changed since you had your baby there.

gateacre1 Sun 14-Nov-10 21:37:43

Sparklies
I am having a C section too due to a botch job at QEH permanent damage to my body etc.

I was with St Mary Sidcup but its closing down now, So I transferred to St Thomas's
Im under Mr Otem who is one of the consultants we would have paid privately for.

My hopes are that straight after the section I can move to the lansdell suite within St thomas's for private postnatal care ( 690 a night)
If I cant 'get in' to the lansdell I have read on an NHS website that the maternity staff have undergone recent training in how to be 'nicer' to mums on post natal wards. ( NHS patient opionion- there was a complaint and the maternity ward appear to be dealing with post natal care issues)

Good luck!
( also if you transfer late a lot of the consultants discount their rates if you ask!)

BagofHolly Sun 14-Nov-10 22:52:22

Could you have an nhs section at paddington and then transfer to the Lindo for your postnatal care? Or the same arrangement at st Thomas? I feel for you - the post natal bit is why I'm having my section privately too.

BagofHolly Sun 14-Nov-10 22:53:55

Sorry I missed a post! Why might you not be able to get in? It's an arrangement your insurer is likely to be keen on too!

indiechick Sun 14-Nov-10 22:58:05

Queen Mary's Sidcup's maternity dept is closing in Dec, so that's not an option. I would say Princess Royal is your best bet. Lewisham is terrible for post-natal care, QE will be hideously over-stretched. PRUH will have nice new facilities, new Midwifery led birthing unit, new dedicated maternity theatres. Really can't recommend it enough. Although I'm biased, I work there and had dd2 there also.

purplearmadillo Sun 14-Nov-10 23:05:44

I had a planned second section at princess royal. It was a while ago now but the care was good - I had OC and DS needed 4 days' special care. I had a private room after the first night which seemed to happen automatically to mums after a cs where possible as the same happened to my friend. I know of quite a few people who went to PRUH and were happy. My consultant at the time told me horror stories about QEH, although my SIL had a baby there with a reasonable experience despite complications last week.

What I would say is that both PRUH and QEH must be very stretched now that Queen Mary is closing, so that would worry me slightly as I think often the first thing to slip is the post-natal care.

Private sounds like the best bet to be honest if you can afford it.

Sparklies Mon 15-Nov-10 00:52:49

Thanks everyone!! Really useful - couldn't have asked for better!

Okay - so that's Lewisham ruled out (I suspected as much!) and I forgot about Queen Mary's, doh. I should have remembered because it's all over the local papers about how QEH is going to suffer as a result (as a few of you say)

Princess Royal sounds doable at least. BUPA told my DH that they do private c-sections there too, but I couldn't see any evidence of that whatsoever from their website. So BUPA talking out of their arse shocker.

Interesting to hear that Kings has a new manager, and good news about St. Thomas training! I'm sort of tempted by Kings due to my high risk factors (in addition to the TAC I have really low PAPP-A, 0.2, which might mean growth issues plus I am 1 in 34 for Down syndrome) but when it comes to delivery I doubt it would make much of a difference really. However the car parking there is a nightmare and it's a sod to reach on public transport from here from bitter experience last time out!

Tempted by St. Thomas and hoping to get into the Landsell.. BUPA won't cover a penny of the Landsell unfortunately :-(

Very tempted by the Lindo, although I have a feeling it will be closed for refurbishment and won't be as fancy.

Great news about the tip about consultant fees.. hmmm, definitely worth considering then! Some of it will depend on DH's bonus in March and how generous he's feeling (he doesn't quite understand how awful it is and thinks it's a waste of money to go private)

gateacre1 - I hear you. It's why I'm doomed to c-sections too.. the midwife at QEH had me pushing for over an hour against a cervical lip without checking to see what the problem was, and doctors have agreed it's probably the cause of my incompetent cervix which nearly cost me DC2 and has landed me in this situation :-( Wretched hospital.

Again thank you everyone who responded.. and keep your advice/anecdotes coming!!

Sparklies Wed 17-Nov-10 17:01:44

Bump - any more stories?

Poppy1969 Wed 17-Nov-10 22:46:11

Hi, I don't really have much to add yet (first baby was due today!) but I would not be so quick to exclude Lewisham if you decide not to pay go privately.

I had also heard mixed reviews but have had excellent care there so far. Obviously I have not yet given birth there but I can only hope it goes as well as the ante natal care.....From what I have read about all the big hospitals in London, it is the post natal care that lets them all down, guess they are all understaffed.

For what it is worth, Lewisham does have post natal private rooms for £35 a night, I am hoping to get one of them although it is first come first served!

Bandita Wed 17-Nov-10 23:25:44

Hi. Just had first baby in Lewisham 1 week ago via elcs due to medical problem. Was in hospital for 9 weeks before. Great consultant. Beautiful job. Antenatal care and labour ward fabulous. Really great midwives. Postnatal ward absolutely rubbish. No interest in medically caring for me or helping with the baby.
I was shocked!!!

Mumcah Wed 17-Nov-10 23:30:21

Just to add Sparklies....as this is not your first baby you'll know what to expect and also be a more confident Mum.At Lewisham they treated me like I should have known what I was doing.

Sparklies Fri 19-Nov-10 16:32:21

Thanks everyone!

Poppy1969 If I was having a natural birth I would probably consider Lewisham as their birthing suite sounds nice, but I have heard more than the average of negative things about the postnatal. It's not so bad with an uncomplicated birth because you can escape quickly, but c-sections have you in forever it feels, and no sleep at all. I'll be interested to hear how it goes for you!

Bandita I hear you when it comes to ante and post natal care. I spent 5 nights at Kings on the antenatal ward. It wasn't ideal (one woman nearly delivered nearby and the bank staff night midwife on duty kept telling her she was being overdramatic but to me she was clearly in transition.. and yes, she was when somebody bothered to check 3 hours later and she was 10cm!) but it was mostly okay. Unlike postnatal, which was another case entirely.

Mumcah It was definitely a lot easier with my second baby despite the poor postnatal care and despite the c-section! I was scared to pick up my first or change her nappy and nobody helped at all at Queen Elizabeth, grr.

Poppy1969 Fri 19-Nov-10 19:33:10

Hi, I'll update you next week as am going in for induction on Monday and if nothing happens by Tuesday will likely be a c-section as I have gestational diabetes..... Am trying to stay positive, guess ignorance is bliss at this stage!

cuppatino Sun 21-Nov-10 00:12:58

Nooo. Lewisham post natal was fab for me. Had my baby by ELCS last Oct and had a fantastic experience. Lovely mid-wives and great care. Would recommend. Also had DD on Wed at 1pm and was out by Friday at 12pm. No complications though.

alexandra2 Sun 21-Nov-10 20:45:53

Landsell suite at STH is lovely

redllamayellowllama Sun 21-Nov-10 20:49:33

ELCS at St T's for DD (who was DC2). QE my nearest by far, but I'd heard so many horror stories, I was determined to avoid it. The care I received was second to none. Could not rate it more highly. Any questions, please ask.

Honeybee79 Mon 22-Nov-10 09:57:58

I have heard good things about St Thomas'.

You have my sympathies re Kings - I had DS there by EMCS 6 weeks ago. We spent 6 nights on the post natal ward and I actually thought I was going to go insane. Worst experience ever.

Stangirl Mon 22-Nov-10 13:41:47

OP and Honeybee - what was so bad about your post-natal care at Kings? My experience with my DD by ELCS was fine. The c-section itself was brilliant and I was put into he ante-natal ward as the post-natal was full but this meant i had a ward to myself for most of the time i was there. The midwives were a bit hopeless and one nurse tried to give me the wrong dose of clexane but what speicfically went wrong for you? I'm pregnant again and was hoing back to Kings but may change my mind.

hatsybatsy Mon 22-Nov-10 15:22:14

lansdell ward at st thomas was woprth every penny - not sure all the training in the world would improve the dire postnatal wards there....

Sparklies Mon 22-Nov-10 15:26:51

Thanks everyone!!

Stangirl - I think the clue is in your question.. you were put on the antenatal ward wink I had no real problems with it (see one of my comments above) but as for postnatal (no complaints over EMCS):

Super hot and stuffy (in November!)
No daylight, let alone fresh air. Baby got jaundice as a result I am sure.
Endless hordes of visitors for other people giving me no peace
Zero help with the baby despite EMCS
Whilst there were lots of nice midwives, there were some real cows
DD, exclusively breastfed, ended up with formula due to a mistake by a snotty midwife
Told to "pull myself together" when I was in tears on day 2
Unable to get breakfast as didn't want to leave baby screaming and not allowed to carry breakfast/breakfast not brought to you
Loud talking from staff all night long
Not getting any food for ages post EMCS
I am sure there was more but it was two years ago now.

Now there were some wonderful midwives there, including some who helped rectify some of the stuff above. But overall, especially compared to the care I've had in other hospitals (not necessarily postnatal) it was pretty crap. A lot of it was down to lack of resources but they could do something about the lack of visitors and the midwives with attitude!

Sounds like St T's or PRUH at this rate then.. I keep hearing hit and miss stuff about Lewisham! Definitely not QEH, hehe.

Honeybee79 Mon 22-Nov-10 17:44:08

Stangirl - the care I received during labour and the procedure itself was good.

However - and I'm sorry if I sound like I'm having a rant but the experience is still painfully fresh - we were stuck on the post natal ward where I was unable to sleep for 6 nights due to constant noise. They did not enforce visiting hours so I was constantly kept awake by other people's visitors. Plus there was no natural light, privacy or fresh air. I could barely lift DS (crash EMCS) and no one answered my basic questions. I waited 3 days for someone to show me how to bath him, during which time he remained covered in blood. I got sod all support breastfeeding and DS was not latched on properly. I asked them to check for tongue tie and they told me he was fine. I have since found out he has a tt.

DS was on antibiotics but no one had time to tell me why or tell me when we could leave. In the end, I felt like I was stuck in a Kafka novel. I chased and chased the doctors to find out what was going on. In the interim, they took DS (without telling me) and did a lumbar puncture on him and then neglected to return him to me for 3 bloody hours. In the end I found him in the neonatal unit just lying in a little cot crying and I just walked out with him back to the post natal ward - no one stopped me or asked me who I was. Now, I am a lawyer and that experience left me seriously concerned.

There was nothing wrong with DS. In the end, a registrar looked at him and his notes and said that they had been endlessly treating the results of a blood test instead of looking at whether my DS was actually ill. He wasn't. He was a robust 10lb whopper with great obs. Then they finally let us out - and I was a sobbing exhausted wreck. It was not the best way to get to know my son.

I am sobbing uncontrollably typing this just thinking about the whole experience. sad sad

Sorry for rant

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