Help to pick the best NHS maternity hospital in London

(13 Posts)
LPBaby1 Mon 04-Aug-14 23:00:38

Hi there,

Im looking for some recent reviews please of London maternity hospitals. Ive just moved to London a few months ago, my friends haven't had any babies yet so can't advise. Can you please help me ?!

Im living in Hampstead but the Royal Free gets poor reviews, also looking at Whittington, UCLH, St Mary's.
Private is too expensive but would be interested in paying for a private room.

Thank you so much in advance.

squizita Tue 05-Aug-14 21:52:20

I am having my ante natal care at St Marys and they are thorough and professional. They have a birth centre onsite too, which appeals to me. Their MW and Consultants always seem 'clued up' and never say anything bizarre or out of date to my paranoid knowledge.

I understand from the grapevine the wards afterwards are very overcrowded but they do private rooms you can pay for after.

Sleepwhenidie Tue 05-Aug-14 21:56:02

UCH is great, pretty new maternity ward with good private rooms to rent if available (not being used for emergency cases). Birthing centres even better if you are that way inclined though, usually you then get the private room free - DH stayed the night at Queen Charlottes's birthing centre with me (that was DC1, DC2 was home birth and DC3 an induction and continuous monitoring at UCH).

LPBaby1 Tue 05-Aug-14 22:37:03

Thank you, thats really helpful…anyone any reviews on Whittington ?

Thanks again x

Cariad007 Wed 06-Aug-14 08:57:39

I had DS in the Whittington birth centre and had an amazing experience. I can't fault any of the care I received there, from my antenatal appointments, to the scans, to the midwives at the birth centre. The free maternity acupuncture service is pretty good too.

I know the labour ward is apparently not that flash but the birth centre really is wonderful and I highly recommend it. I can't comment on the postnatal ward as I stayed the night in my room at the birth centre but I think all PNWs in London are a bit over stretched.

BettyFriedansLoveChild Sun 10-Aug-14 11:52:06

Have had two babies in the Whittington, as well as a stay in UCH's postnatal ward. The postnatal ward in the Whittington is pretty awful; UCH's was quite luxurious. The birth centre at the Whittington is lovely, but it's worth bearing in mind that there is a high chance that you will not be allowed to use it if you develop any minor complications. The Whittington also seemed terribly understaffed both times I was there (lovely staff, just nowhere near enough of them) - all other things being equal (distance from hospital in rush hour etc) I would be inclined to go for UCH.

Deluge Sun 10-Aug-14 11:59:35

The difficult thing with basing your choice solely on reviews is that you'll get different reviews from people based on wildly varying births, not just the hospitals/staff.

I had a long, traumatic first birth at the Royal Free and would never darken their door again. My friend had two quick, straight forward births there and has nothing but good things to say about the place. She was in hospital for 24 hours each time, though, and had no complications. Had the same midwife with her throughout each birth, whereas I was in for 8 days and really felt the high number of agency midwives and lack of continuity of care.

I had my second baby at UCH and had the most amazing experience. Staff were wonderful, it was clean and I felt looked after. But I had a c-section. Friends who have wanted low intervention, natural births didnt have such good experiences there.

Definitely have a look at the hospitals yourself and talk to the midwives on your visit. Bear in mind all London hospitals are busy places, too, and postnatal care is often patchy and forms the basis of poor reviews, rather than the labour experience iyswim.

Deluge Sun 10-Aug-14 12:01:35

Another small but important thing to consider is how your other half is going to get there to visit if you're in for more than a day. UCH is good for public transport but parking? Forget it.

fluffymouse Wed 13-Aug-14 00:38:16

I'm booked in at uclh and have so far been very impressed. Will have to wait and see what their labour ward is like.

BeginnerSAHM Fri 15-Aug-14 10:19:46

Another (2) fantastic experiences at UCH here. Both births were fast and furious and very frightening for me and the midwives and doctors were brilliant with me. DC2 was born in just over an hour from the first period pain like twinge and was in distress - I think the fast labour and effectively one long strong contraction shocked her so her heart rate dipped massively. And she was quite early. They handled it brilliantly - and the post-natal experience was fantastic. Because she was early, I had to stay in a few nights to make sure her breathing was ok (lungs are the last things to develop) and had my own room with an ensuite! Amazing midwives too - during the birth and in the post-natal ward. (Had a horrid post-natal experience with DC1 but that was in the 'old building' and with healthcare assistants being dreadful at night, not midwives, so I'll gloss over that bit!!) At Kings this time round as we've moved to SE London which seems good so far but that's not relevant for you!!

Edgeware birthing unit is like a birthing spar. Pools in every room with underwater lighting and then a room with a double bed for you and your partner afterwards, with patio doors to private garden.

Annbag Wed 20-Aug-14 18:43:48

I'm currently at the Whittington, mainly because it's my nearest hospital. They do seem like they are very busy and short staffed and its been difficult getting through on the phone to book appointments on occasion. However they've been excellent at being thorough and sending me for extra tests due to previous medical conditions, so I can't fault the medical side of things so far. So administration is crap but medically good based on my experience.

They are currently building and refurbishing the maternity ward so depending on when you're due that might be ready.

You can change hospitals during your pregnancy if you need, although I imagine that'd be a bit of a pain. But if you chose one and hate it that's an option.

Cariad007 Wed 20-Aug-14 21:53:14

Oh yes, it was nigh on impossible to get through to the midwives at the Whittington but every time I actually saw someone there I was very impressed. From what I've gathered, Whittington is great for low-risk births but UCH is better for higher-risk and c-sections. The Fetal Medicine
Unit at UCH is excellent but if you are at the Whittington and have any concerns or problems with your scans they can refer you there.

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