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New to London : Best NHS hospital in London

(55 Posts)
Happyscotinlondon Sat 21-Jun-14 17:05:03

I am relatively new to London and I am very unsure of London hospital ratings and generally who has a good reputation for caring for / delivering babies smile If anyone can advise the hospital to be avoided at all costs and the ones that are considered the best I would be so grateful.

For info this is my first and I am 40 so generally considered higher risk, although not sure that being 40 actually makes me that x

TessTackle Sat 21-Jun-14 17:08:50

I thought that you got sent to the nearest one to you?

I had DD at Queen Charlottes, it was amazing. I gave birth in a private room (despite being an NHS patient) and was then allowed to stay overnight in the same room while I got the hang of breast feeding etc.

The one to avoid, I've heard, is Chelsea and Westminster. Though if you go private it's meant to be better. The labour ward was filthy when I visited a friend there and I had to clean the bathroom and carry her there for her first shower because the nurses were ignoring her buzzer.

Hth.

Happyscotinlondon Sat 21-Jun-14 17:20:27

They do but I have spoken to my doctor and she is happy to refer me as I am refusing to go to my local hospital due to 3 horrific experiences so now no idea - thanks so much for your post

WooItsAGhostCat Sat 21-Jun-14 17:22:15

Are you central, south or north?

Happyscotinlondon Sat 21-Jun-14 17:26:18

East Canary Wharf so Central is easy too

citysnow Sat 21-Jun-14 17:37:46

I had mine at Royal London at Whitechapel. Not sure if that is the one you are already avoiding but hospital new and clean. I found it good but I know others who felt there wasn't enough midwives. I had 40 hour labour so a number of different midwives. I ended up with a c-section and paid for the use of a private room post birth (best £75 a night I spent!). Private room meant DH could stay overnight and all day and that was lovely for us all. We have moved slightly more east now, so I guess we will use a different hospital if/when next one comes along.

rockstars12 Sat 21-Jun-14 17:39:46

It depends what you think you'll need. If you need expert fetal monitoring then harris birthwright at kings on Denmark hill. Headed up by prof nicolaides, who is also head of the fetal medicine foundation on Harley street, you can pay privately at the FMC for scans etc. We have received expert care for our twins so far. Antenatal care is generally good in all, but postnatal I hear they can all be hit and miss. Are you wanting entirely nhs or paying private.
Some hospitals are certain postcodes only or via medically necessary referrals.

Mitchell2 Sat 21-Jun-14 17:41:24

If your east and flexible re birth experience then the barkentine maybe for you. It's a MLU stand alone unit - private rooms, birth pools in every room etc. but they only clear you at 36 weeks. Currently booked in there (40+5!) and they'll take you until 42 weeks.

Otherwise the homerton has a good rep ( better than royal which I'm assuming you didn't like). Also St Thomas's I've heard good things as well but they generally don't take people outside a few boroughs. Finally the other realistic option would be UCH which I know two recent births there and they said it was great.

Mitchell2 Sat 21-Jun-14 17:42:48

Oh and I know someone booked for the barkentine who is 41 and it was fine (as everything else was low risk).

BeginnerSAHM Sat 21-Jun-14 18:20:16

Hi - had two babies at UCH. The giving birth bit was excellent both times. Amazing midwives and doctors (if you need them). Post birth care was appalling with number one (nurse assistants - not qualified - shouting at me to 'feed your baby' - when I had been desperately trying for 36 hours, had mastitis and the baby had tongue tie that wasn't spotted despite me asking 3 doctors to look as I have it - even had blood running down my front but nobody thought that odd). After birth care with number two was fantastic - had my own room, was kept in for 2 days as the baby was a bit early, had fantastic help with feeding and a totally different experience. But it makes sense for you to go to a nearer hospital. Friends have had good experiences at homerton (too far north maybe?) and mixed at the London. I think the post-birth bit is slightly pot luck anywhere.

Basildon Hospital maternity dept. is currently the only one in the country rated outstanding by th

I think you're too far away (thank god), but do avoid Lewisham. It's absolutely appalling, and should have been closed down. God knows why locals campaigned to save the maternity 'services'. I'd have been better off in a field, with a vet.

I started my care at the Royal London, and it seemed excellent, and I second the Barkantine (their MLU, which is not on site, but is v close to you - only issue being transfer time if needed).

I had my first at the Royal London too but 12 years ago, I used to live on the isle of dogs too and I would NOT recommend it at all. The prenatal care is all in weird underground tunnels and all the equipment was broken and it was generally a hideous experience.

Sounds like it might have changed since then though.

ShineSmile Sat 21-Jun-14 18:44:04

Just marking my place, would be interested in knowing too

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Sat 21-Jun-14 18:50:23

I really wouldn't base your decision on a thread on here. Responses won't be at all representative. For example, you've been told Lewisham is utterly awful. Which I'm not disputing was that poster's experience, but I used to live in the area and know literally dozens of people who have had good experiences there.

What I would say is that, if you live in Canary Wharf, your biggest determinant is going to be travel time. Factor in that you may be in extreme discomfort sitting down when you travel, anything more than 15 minutes should be avoided IMO, because it could easily turn into an hour in traffic. And, being a busy London hospital and not a rural area (which tends to be quieter and set up for people with long travel times) you are more likely to be sent home if you come in too early to allow for this.

Also bear in mind that many hospitals get 'booked up'. If you look for threads, you will see quite a few people who have wanted to book at X hospital, but have been told that they aren't taking referals outside Y area, or for their dates or whatever.

I have heard good things about the Barkatine and Homerton homebirth midwives, but that was a while ago. smile

squizita Sat 21-Jun-14 18:59:18

Queen Charlotte's and St Mary's have a strong reputation in West London. Northwick Park and Ealing have poorer reputations.

The intervention rate at st Marys and Queen Charlotte's look a little high but bear in mind many GPs refer you there if you are a recurrent miscarried or multiple birth so they do have midwife led care available for most women!

squizita Sat 21-Jun-14 19:01:32

Penguins most of zone 2-4 is over 15 min from the nearest maternity hospital -and prone to traffic jams! But yes I agree don't go too far out!

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Sat 21-Jun-14 19:01:50

Squizita - She's in East Canary Wharf. West is probably out. smile

littlefunpug Sat 21-Jun-14 19:03:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Sat 21-Jun-14 19:04:49

Is it Squiz? I only really know services in the South-East area. Think of QE, Lewisham, Darent Valley, the various hospitals further south for areas like Forest Hill (the names of which escape me). No one I know planned to use a hospital more than 15 minutes drive (as in, 15 minutes at midnight on a Tuesday), with the reality that many of those journeys could be much, much longer at 8.30 am on a Monday. I'd also avoid trying to cross the river if in Canary Wharf. I don't think you want to be dealing with a Blackwall tunnerl closure and re-routing to Rotherhithe in labour grin

VioletGoesVintage Sat 21-Jun-14 19:04:51

My experience of the Barkantine was great but they are rightly risk averse and will transfer you should the need arise.

The Royal London did their job for me: they got my baby out alive and well but the midwives, save for the head midwife, were brusque to the point of rudeness and the post-natal care was appalling. I've said before on these threads that I think much of that is due to lower than ideal staffing levels and, perhaps, agency staff. Whatever the reason I was very glad I was no longer in London by the time I was pregnant again.

Really, though, as a PP said, your experience will be personal to you. I've heard good and bad stories about pretty much all the London hospitals. If you genuinely have a choice (and, in my experience, a GP referral won't get you into, say, St Thomas' without medical justification if you live out of "catchment") then visit them to get a "feel" and definitely pick somewhere that is easy to get to in rush hour traffic!

squizita Sat 21-Jun-14 19:11:18

Ah, I meant 15 min "normal" iyswim. Not midnight. I'm spoilt as I live on a major A road but if traffic were dire there is another (less well known but any port in a storm!) Within distance.

But they are angling to close maternity in Ealing and Central Middlesex, making people from Hanwell/Southall/West Ealing go in to Acton/Hammersmith or out to Slough!

bevelino Sat 21-Jun-14 19:12:04

As a former midwife all you need is a safe pair of hands on
the day. It doesn't matter which hospital as problems can occur wherever you are.

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Sat 21-Jun-14 19:13:18

Ah, the two versions of travel time grin

rightsaidfred Sat 21-Jun-14 19:24:43

I know that it is probably too far for you- but someone upthread said Chelsea and Westminster was to be avoided....... absolutely not my experience.
The antenatal care has been excellent....... I am currently bck there for number 3. I am older than you and they are very unfazed by my age. They deal with lots of older mums. There were horror stories a few years back on the postnatal ward (mainly dirt related rather than care related) but that was much better last time I was there.

If I were you I would be looking at the 2 or 3 centres closest to you and take a look at their facilities. You won't want to be trekking across London in labour. Do you want to be midwife led, waterbirth etc etc and where do you stand the best chance of that.

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