Moving to Birmingham at eight months pregnant - don't understand English nhs(64 Posts)
Looks like I'll be moving from Scotland to Birmingham at eight months pregnant.
I'm at a loss of where to start with finding a good hospital, with water birthing rooms that isn't over-crowded. I've heard horror stories about people being refused entry to birthing suits because they are full and being transferred while in labour.
How would I know if a hospital had had a recent outbreak of c-diff or a really bad reputation? I live within the same city I grew up in and know all the hospitals here.
I'm also worried about the amount of 'private finance' required for nhs in England. I've read that within the English system you pay for scan photos, private rooms and prescriptions, so do you have to pay for other stuff that I would have expected to be 'free' (inverted commas because I pay tax!) ?
I am considering driving back to my mums at nine months pregnant so I can use the hospital I planned to (and used for my ds). It's only five or so hours, I was in labour for 38 hours last time so I'm pretty confident I can make it (I wouldn't be driving though).
Any help / local knowledge you could give would be much appreciated
You get prescriptions free when you are pregnant or have given birth within a year. You only have to pay for a private room if there isn't a medical need for one. I also got my scan photos free! Can't think of anything else you'd have to pay for which you weren't expecting
You find out about hospitals by researching! All the data is freely available, start with the hospital website. Ask PALs, google it to get patient views, look at the local paper website. If you can, talk to people eg Drs, midwives, your new GP.
The NHS website will also tell you what you need to pay for, IME nothing!
Thank you for your responses -
I might be a bit hormonal / anxious / stressed about this move.
I'm really looking forward to living in Birmingham it's just really bad timing.
If I want to come back to give birth I was thinking of keeping registered with my gp here (not sure if that's legal or not). I really like and trust him and then my current hospital will be expecting me. I don't want to muck up their workforce planning!
You have to apply for a medical exemption certificate for the free prescriptions and dental treatment in pregnancy (this is valid until your baby is a year old), you have to get the form from the GP/midwife as they need to confirm that you're pregnant.
If the hospital think that you need a private room, it's free - I had a free private room with both DS1 and DS2. DS1 as he was premature and in SCBU, and I guess the midwives thought it might be upsetting if I was on a ward full of mum's who had their babies with them. DS2 as he needed to be on a special phototherapy cot on the postnatal ward to treat his jaundice.
I think our NHS trust charge something like £2 for a scan photo, so that's pretty cheap really. Cheaper than the hospital car park, certainly.
If you can find something like a local FB group or page for the area you're moving to, it might be worth asking about the different hospitals on there. I'm on few local FB parenting groups, and it's not unusual to see people saying things like "don't know whether to have baby in hospital A or hospital B, can people who've used hospital A or B tell me about their experiences?"
if you're concerned about private finance in NHS, then you're better off in England, where it has been prtty much abandoned since the end of the Labour government (sharp reduction in PFI, same mechanisms for allowing and overseeing approved private provision within NHS).
Scotland however continues with PFI www.gov.scot/Resource/0048/00481418.xlsx and also has the use of private provision for patients www.heraldscotland.com/news/13210222.NHS_spends_millions_in_private_sector_despite_SNP__clampdown_/
So if that aspect didn't worry you in Scotland, it shouldn't worry you in England.
I moved to Birmingham at 7 months pregnant, had a great experience. IMO it would be crazy to drive back to Scotland in labour!! Hospitals will usually only book a certain number of women per month but as people often move etc there will likely be space at your chosen hospital. As for being transferred while in labour - surely this would be done in Scotland too if the hospital were full and could not accommodate you. They will do what is safest for you and baby. It is unusual anyway
As others have said if you want a private room for no medical indication you may need to / be able to pay (not everywhere has this as a possibility)
City hospital has the most water birth rooms, then BWH. But you can never be guaranteed one (my labour was too fast anyway!).
Thanks Mrs, That's a great idea, I'll start with fb.
Scaevola, your thinking on much bigger terms than I am! I just mean that if I use a hospital in England will I have to bring cash with me? IME it's not a good idea to take valuables into hospital but I don't want to get there and realise without a payment method I can't eat (for example).
For instance, It wouldn't have occurred to me that I would need to pay for parking, so I'll need money for that at least. (Yes I do also realise that two hospitals in Scotland do how pfi car parks so do also charge for parking, but I didn't use either of those hospitals).
TBH the things you already mentioned - scan photos, prescriptions (not applicable if you're pregnant anyway) private room (only if not needed medically) are possibly the only things I can think of that you'd be charged for.
You will be fed for free in hospital, you don't need to take money for this! I can't think of anything you'd need money for (except the phone if you don't take your mobile) whilst you were in giving birth. Really. It's not like the US where they demand to know how you will be paying when you arrive.
Forgot to add I'd take a small amount of money with me, for parking and for maybe if your birth partner needed a snack from a vending machine, but that's it I think.
My best friend lives in Birmingham and is under the women's hospital near harbourne. Lovely birthing suite and a very good reputation, worth looking at, although no idea how easy it is to get in there.
In terms of an overall idea of the state of the hospital you could start by checking the cqc website....they don't cover everything when inspecting a hospital but they do inspect and it can give you an overview
Serenity in city hospital is great for water births etc. Have a look at it.
Good luck op
Scan photos cost me £5 per photo recently. Last stay I had in hospital I had to use a payment card so I could watch TV, I also used the vending machines a lot because I was starving! I would take snacks in my hospital bag.
Have you considered a home birth? You could hire a pool and at least know it would be available. Last couple of times I've given birth the rooms were full.
Depends where in Birmingham you'll be I think, I only have experience of the two hospitals local to me. One is a birthing centre and the other a big hospital.
Where have you got these perceptions of English hospitals from? They can have problems, yes, but having to pay to eat? I have never known that happen in any British hospital. You can have mistakes made or not like the food but surely that's just as possible in Scotland? I think you're worrying excessively about this and it'll be fine.
Incidentally, do Scottish hospitals guarantee all mothers in labour access to a pool if they want it? I would be surprised if any hospital can do that, since you'll just never know for sure that they won't all be full.
You get free meals in hospital. Whether you like them or not is different question, but that would be the same in Scotland.
You might want to take in some cash to buy extra snacks from vending machines in case you get hungry between meals, but you could bring your own snacks in.
If you want to watch tv you might need to buy a payment card from a hospital vending machine for that.
I gave birth in Birmingham Women's, not by choice I have to say, but I found it ok, meals provided, staff were lovely, and I was in Saturday and allowed home with DD on Sunday (induction).
Why wouldn't you pay for scan photos? They are not a medical necessity so why on earth should you expect the nhs to pay for them?!
Alsi prescriptions are free during pregnancy up until one year after your due date. You will need to register with a midwife in birmingham and ask for a form to get a prescription maternity exempt card.
The card also gives free dental care for that time too
You might want a small amount of money for parking and food outside of mealtimes. I can think of anything else.
You know you don't pay for the actual scan, just, sometimes, if you want a photo.
Gosh, you really are bringing some odd preconceptions about England with you on this move! I am sure that there are plenty of hospitals in both England and Scotland that charge for parking, and plenty that don't. Will depend on whether rural/ urban location or the particular NHS trust policy rather than PFI or not, I am sure. Not that the English are all evil and make people pay to visit their sick relatives just because they can....(I am Scottish living in London by the way).
Why on earth would you ever leave the house without cash or a card anyway? Even in labour you can grab your purse on the way out.
I think your head may explode if you are still in Evil England when it comes to choosing a school for your DC...
We chose to have a private room for the night after DC2 was born. Just had to sign a form & received an invoice a few days later so we didn't need money on us for that.
Surely you're past the scan stage.
Some very odd ideas you have!
Yes, if someone wants to park at the Women's (same site as the new big QE), then you pay, but you don't pay for anything necessary.
Food is provided. I suppose if you were in for a while, you could probably hire a TV, but you don't tend to stay in that long.
Don't dream of driving to Scotland whilst in labour!
Firstly, driving in labour = bad idea generally, but 2ndly, 2nd labours are notoriously a fraction of the length of 1st labours.
I find it doubtful that any NHS hospital has enough birthing pools etc, that it can guarantee one for everyone who happens to be in labour that wants one at the same time - staff will do the best for you, but if you want to be 100% certain, then you should look into a home birth and hiring one.
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