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Fetal Medicine Centre - anyone used them and have feedback?

(10 Posts)
Tangle Tue 31-May-11 18:21:08

Hoping someone can give some personal views. Fundamentally, we need to organise an 11-13 week scan. For various reasons we aren't keen to use an NHS hospital. If we're going private then the FMC isn't out of question, either in terms of distance or cost (I was surprised the £££ was very comparable to our nearer private unit).

We have no particular reason for needing the expertise available, at least that we are aware of at this point in time. More important is not sitting in an anonymous waiting room for an indefinite amount of time and being treated sensitively after pregnancy loss.

I'm not sure we'd want a CVS, even if we came back as high risk (especially if the risk was between 1/100 and 1/300 - so risk of MC due to CVS greater than risk of Down's). I guess one of my concerns about using the FMC is that they'd tend towards a medical solution... But then if we have to face that decision I want to be making it on the most robust information I can...

Sorry - I'm not totally clear on what I'm trying to find out, but if anyone thinks they can help me work it out I'd appreciate it! blushsmile

tiokiko Tue 31-May-11 22:15:07

Sorry, I can't give personal experience of the FMC but a few weeks ago we were considering going there (we're in Scotland) for a follow-up scan and possible CVS following nuchal test here.

I read lots of excellent feedback for them on here, and they are also the only place recommended by ARC, who gave me lots of advice and info. I felt the same re costs there - thought it would be much more expensive.

Apparently Prof Nicolaides only works there on Wednesdays so if you want him, factor that in with travel etc and specifically request when you book.

We decided not to go for it for various reasons, but I think if I was at the early pregnancy stage again we would probably have the testing at the FMC in the first place, on the basis of their experience in both nuchal testing and CVS if it was necessary.

Sure someone else will be along with direct experience but hope that helps a little and good luck in figuring out what to do next.

goodnightmoon Wed 01-Jun-11 15:16:42

I've been to the FMC several times, for early scanning in what turned out to be miscarriages and for a 3D scan at 30 weeks of my son. They are excellent and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. I'm planning on going there for a CVS/amnio in this pregnancy (I'm now almost 11 weeks) because my Downs risk is 1:55 based solely on my age. I'm going to see what happens though at my 12 week NHS screening next week.
The only downside is they can run HOURS behind schedule. Also, you may find very pregnant ladies in the waiting room and/or those with small children, so be prepared if you are fearing the worst for your own pregnancy.

flowery Wed 01-Jun-11 15:20:53

Fantastic, I would highly recommend them after going for nuchal scan there with DS2.

Tangle Wed 01-Jun-11 21:34:38

Thanks ladies.

I think we've come round to the point of view that if we go to the FMC then we can expect:

- a more highly trained sonographer (a consultant with extra training)
- better equipment
- a more rigorous scan
- a quick result
- an option to discuss that result in person, same day, if required
all for very nearly the same price and at a more convenient time than the local private centre.

The only disadvantage we know of is having to head into central London (or more having to get out of central London after, potentially, receiving bad news).

So, all in all, hard to see why we wouldn't do it!

Another questions, if any of you can help:
- is Prof Nicolaides significantly better at driving an ultrasound machine than his colleagues, or is he the famous name that fronts a very competent team? Or, alternatively, did you go to the FMC so that you could see Prof Nicolaides specifically and would you still have gone if it meant seeing someone else?
- is the waiting room a more pleasant environment than most NHS equivalents (although I recognize that's an incredibly trivial question). TBH I think the bigger problem with our local NHS hospital is association with previous bad experience than the waiting per se - but the lack of air con and uncomfy chairs aren't a big attraction either!

goodnightmoon - did you find out about the delays personally? If so, may I ask if you were there on a Wednesday and/or in the afternoon?
We're hoping that if we get a morning appointment the wait shouldn't be too bad - but if that's a completely deluded hope it would be useful to know now so we can prep whoever persuade to look after DD1 accordingly!

tiokiko Wed 01-Jun-11 22:32:12

When I called to enquire, they said that Prof Nicolaides in particular can over-run substantially - but I think that may be because they do offer CVS on the day for women who want it, rather than having to wait and/or travel back some distance.

I appreciated knowing that a delay was likely so that we could have planned out return travel without being stressed about missing flights on top of everything else.

You can see 360 degree views of the consultation rooms, waiting room, reception etc on their website.

Tangle Wed 01-Jun-11 23:28:40


Managed to completely miss that bit... Certainly looks a bit more relaxing than our local hospital! Although the sheer number of seats is slightly worrying...

We were looking at it from the point of view that if they run late its probably because they're prepared to take the time needed to help a patient with a problem (either immediate CVS or just advice) rather than saying "sorry - times up. Make another appointment if you want to come back." And we don't have a problem with that.

This is all really helpful, though - if nothing else we've got some points to fine down with them before committing smile

goodnightmoon Thu 02-Jun-11 10:00:12

i've been there three times. It was one time in particular where i think they rang me to say they were running really behind schedule and so at least I didn't show up until a couple of hours after the original appointment was booked. It was something like a 4:00 appointment and I was seen around 7:30pm. It demonstrated their ethos though - which is to see everyone who needs to be seen and offer them all the care they need.
I had to wait the other two times too but nothing crazy as I recall.
For a CVS, I would want to see the Professor. For the scan itself, probably not so important. I saw him the second time I went to confirm a missed miscarriage. He came in after another colleague had told me the worst. He was very kind. The other staff are great too though and clearly know their stuff.

ShangriLaLaLa Thu 02-Jun-11 14:52:05

I've had the Prof for the CVS. With us, two or three of his doctors did the initial scan, then he came in for the needle part of the procedure. The scan was exceptionally thorough (I have never spent so long on a scanning table) and you feel as if they have all the time in the world for you. Prof Nic breezes in like a whirlwind, discusses the results with you, answers any questions you may have and gets you to grip his arm as he does his stuff. He is brilliant and quite a character.

Results were fast. We had the CVS on Wednesday evening and were phoned by close of play Friday. They were very good with follow-up too, insisting in getting in touch and faxing my NHS consultant their report in time for an appointment on the Monday. We had bad news, but it was the best of circumstances under which to receive that bad news (if that makes sense). But take a book...or two.

Janzen Mon 20-Jun-11 08:54:33

I wanted to add another positive experience with FMC. We booked an early morning appointment on a Wednesday and the wait wasn't bad (one hour over time). Nicolaides didn't do the scan. The sonographer who did was excellent, spending at least an hour on the scan and measuring everything. Nicolaides came in at the end, reviewed the results, and talked with us.

Given my age (40), and watching my best friend go through the agony recently of her daughter being the 1 in 30,000 for a rare chromosomal disorder, we thought we'd do a CVS regardless. But Nicolaides didn't push for an invasive test. On the contrary, he seemed to tell us in his own way that it wasn't necessary, and suggested we take a walk around the block to think about it. We decided not to in the end. He was kind, thorough, and I felt we were in excellent hands.

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