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choice of four - Lewisham, St Elizabeth's in Woolwich, Kings, Guys & Thomas

(40 Posts)
helpivegottogivebirth Wed 08-Oct-08 11:18:23

The doctor asked me where i wanted to give birth. i have no idea as i thought they would tell me where i HAD to give birth. Too much choice already (imagine what I'll be like with choosing names)

I live in SE13 Greenwich Deptford so i guess Lewisham General and St Elizabeth's in Woolwich are pretty equidistant.

does anyone have any experience with either of these hospitals? Or any recommendations?

OP’s posts: |
Barcelonababe Wed 08-Oct-08 12:22:03

Kings has an amazing reputation for antenatal care. Dr Nicolaides runs the antenatal department- he is one the leading man in the field in the UK. Plenty of info on google. You will have the best scans in the country at Kings. Aftercare a bit patchy like almost everywhere.

Dr Nicolaides also runs a private clinic in Harley Street but you will get the same treatment for free on the NHS.

I would defo recommend you Kings!

elkiedee Wed 08-Oct-08 12:46:40

How will you get to the hospital and what would each be like for your chosen method? If you'll always be driving and so can your dh/dp (you won't want to take yourself to hospital presumably) then I'd find out about parking in each place, but if you're going to need to get there by public transport, that's worth checking for antenatal appointments etc, and also though hopefully it won't be an issue for you, if for any reason you and baby have a longer than expected stay.

My chosen hospital has excellent public transport connections but parking is a problem, and although it's in a somewhat rundown area I've had cause to appreciate the local shops and a public library very close by. By contrast the nearest hospital has nothing except dual carriageways surrounding it.

lizzytee Thu 09-Oct-08 09:28:08

Hi there, haven't been seen at Kings or Lewisham but have been seen at Queen Elizabeth and St Thomas. A lot can depend on whether your pregnancy is high risk or not - Kings and St Thomas' are both teaching hospitals and so as barcelonababe has said you will get very good care there if there are any problems. However given their catchment areas Lewisham and QEH Woolwich also deal with plenty of high risk cases so you will be well looked after. With this pregnancy I have chosen to go to St Thomas but I am in the high risk category so don't take my example!

QE is very busy and closes fairly frequently to admissions- but the other three do too. If you haven't looked already, you can see the Healthcare Commission reports for each hospital if you google healthcare commission maternity services.

Good luck with whatever you decide

singingtree Thu 09-Oct-08 10:04:25

St Thomas's is great, but there's a lot to be said for going to a hospital reasonably near you. We ended up in and out of there quite a lot around the time that DS was born,a long journey would have been pretty exhausting

heverhoney1 Thu 09-Oct-08 11:16:51

My mum had me ant my sis at tommies and wanted me to go there with this one (My first) but as it would be an hour away in light traffic (more like 4 in rush hour traffic) it seemed sensible to settle for 1 closer to home (SE9).

I asked Doc about Lewisham and she basically told me that that would be way too much hassle for her to arrange angry and I saw a horrific documentry about the hygene standards at QM in sidcup so I had little choice but to settle on QE woolwich. 2 of my nephews were born there and their mum told be it was a good hospital (as she works in hospitals for a living I figured that was a good sign!!!)

blueshoes Thu 09-Oct-08 12:01:22

I've used Queen Elizabeth's and St Thomas'. Would prefer St Thomas' for better SCBU, facilities, bigger. Aftercare at both on bogstandard postnatal ward poor (Sept overcrowding) but was horrendous at QE rather than just shite at St Thomas. I had cs both times. Parking at St Thomas is a nightmare. Slightly better at QE but bring lots of coins!

pagwatch Thu 09-Oct-08 12:05:56

I gave birth at Lewisham hospital but it was 15 years ago so hardly up to date info.

But - for what it is worth.
I would rather give birth at McDonalds or in the street than ever set foot in that hell hole again. Rude stupid unplesant people who made my birth a nightmare and who managed to do not one single thing with competence, manners, grace, humour or kindness.
Hideous. Beyond hideous

miffymum Thu 09-Oct-08 12:12:35

I gave birth at Kings and then DD was transferred to NICU/SCBU at St Thomas's - I would highly recommend both tbh. Ante-natal care at Kings was excellent although it is v v busy. St T's NICU was FANTASTIC. Great views there too but parking is dreadful.

Have lots of friends who gave birth at Lewisham and all survived, but don't think it's as good as Kings. Having said that, your journeys to ante-natal appointments and to the labour ward need to be taken into account. We moved half way through my pregnancy so had further to travel and it was a bit of a pain. I'd go with your closest one as long as people say its OK. Your midwife / doctor should have some idea of the standard of services locally.

daisyj Thu 09-Oct-08 12:26:48

My local is Lewisham, but I'm hoping to have a home birth... However, I know that Lewisham are really trying to up their game after bad scores for maternity services a year or so ago. I had an emergency scan there a few weeks ago and everyone I encountered was lovely. Same again for the nuchal scan three weeks ago. Also, the breastfeeding consultant there is a midwife called Jill Moore and she's great - have had her for both my bookings-in.

Had early (private) scan at QE done by consultant called Dr Ali, who has quite a name in high risk obs and gynae and was great, but you wouldn't have any reason to see him I guess unless you were high risk.

Had mc at St Thomas's in March and they were absolutely fantastic - it was a bit of saga so I saw two nurses, two doctors and a consultant and they were all lovely and very supportive. They have great scores for their maternity services, too, but they are that bit further away, so not so great for an emergency dash, if you were to have to make one!

Hope that helps.

bashboid Thu 09-Oct-08 12:42:39

I gave birth at Lewisham in April this year and have to say I think its bad press is really unjustified. I ended up being in there for 5 days and in all the shift changes only encountered one unfriendly midwife and even she wasn't that bad! Lots of help re breastfeeding available too. Ante natal care was fine and all my scans were carried out on time at the appointment time so I didn't have to hang around waiting all afternoon like I've heard other mums say. Can't comment on the other hospitals as this was my first child but I did have a friend who was admitted to QM in Sidcup in July and despite several examinations got to 8cm before they realised the baby was breech - didn't exactly inspire me with confidence.

helpivegottogivebirth Thu 09-Oct-08 17:09:59

wow - thank you everyone for your comments - it is really helpful to hear of our experience! Now just have to convince DH that the nearest is not necessarily the one we're going for!

OP’s posts: |
Spillage21 Thu 09-Oct-08 17:36:42

I would recommend choosing a hospital closer to you. One of the reasons is that if you have your baby at say, King's, and you live well outside the catchment area, you won't be seen postnatally by King's midwives, you'll be seen by MWs from your nearest hospital so not much chance of continuity of care. And unfortunately PN care can be very different between hospitals...

Plus if you stay at home until you are in established labour and then have to make your way to hospital during rush hour in a hospital a long way's gonna be very stressful!

As you're in Deptford, why not also get in touch with Albany midwives (Deptford being their spiritual home!)?

Best of luck!

PS Nicolaides runs fetal medicine...not antenatal care. Sorry for being pedantic.

countrylover Tue 21-Oct-08 13:59:40

Kings was fantastic - I was in for over a week after giving birth with complications and my DS ended up in SCBU for nearly three weeks so I spent plenty of time there unfortunately.

MatBackFeck Tue 21-Oct-08 14:02:11

Based on my experience I would def choose Kings and avoid St Thomas' - I had my first baby there and it was grim.

uptomyeyes Fri 24-Oct-08 12:08:59

I've had 3 planned c-sect's at Lewisham. The first 11 years ago and the last 2 years ago. All my ante natal care was consultant led so took place at the hospital. I also had extensive ante natal and post natal interventions with my third pregnancy.

Lewisham have upped their game since my first experience and I coulcn't honestly have asked for better care by the time I had DS3. Just for info all maternity units were slated in last years report on London maternity provision except for, I think, Tommys which did well.

Kings was my other local hospital but I had a botched gynae op there 13 years ago and they ruptured my uterus. I know its silly but I just couldn't bear the thought of being in there again.

NoMatterWhoIAmJustType Fri 24-Oct-08 12:45:28

I agree with those that say the closest is the best. Your DH will do lots of toing and froing between the birth and your discharge, which could be especially relevant if you need an emergeny c section or something like.

Really all hospitals have their failings and their positives. A lot depends on luck, i.e if you are in labour and the ward is half empty you get much better care than if by chance they are full and understaffed.

And I second Albany Centre, though it maybe too late as they are very much in demand!

NoMatterWhoIAmJustType Fri 24-Oct-08 12:48:30

Sorry I hit post too quickly. I had DS in Lewisham, it was fine, a complication free birth with G&A, at first the midwife we were allocated was very harsh but we soon realised she was rushed off her feet with emergencies and once she could stay with us she was brilliant.

With DD I had a homebirth in yorkshire, the people that we dealt with there were truly wonderful, much more caring, and had lots more time, but I understand that is due to the much higher maternity provision there (and smaller populations)

beckyeliza72 Fri 24-Oct-08 12:57:58

I had ds in queen elizabeth although 5 years ago and i thought it to be excellent! Am now having next in Lewisham as is close to me, my sister in law had dd there and when i visited it looked really spotless and clean and she has had no complaints. hope this helps )

bellybaba Wed 07-Jan-09 21:52:18

I would choose the hospital nearest to you, as
spillage21 says you won't get postnatal care from out of area hospitals. Or how about finding out whether your two local hospitals have group practice midwives and think about having a home birth?

The Albany midwives will not cover Greenwich area as they take their main referrals from the GP surgery they are linked to. Mostly the Peckham area and are contracted to Kings.

Oh and as spillage21 says as well Prof Nickolaides runs Harris birthright centre at Kings, which is the fetal medicine unit and no you're not being pedantic spillage21.

Good luck with where-ever you choose.

america Thu 08-Jan-09 10:12:49

I had a horrendous experience at the QEII and definitively not goint back there. Was left with the student midwife and not properly monitored and after 28h baby crashed and we ended up in an emergency section. Worst of all, post natal care was bad beyond belief, both me and the baby got MRSA which wasn't diagnosed and I was treated like a hypocondriac for trying to tell them that something wasn't quite right. Drive from Greenwich to the hospital took over an hour late in the evening due to road works so it wasn't even within easier access than St. Thomas.

Oblomov Thu 08-Jan-09 10:30:30

I gave birth at Kings 5 yrs ago and 2 months ago. Both cs. Am 'high risk' and the care I had was superb.
But, after birth, on the wards, they are very very understaffed and the care I had was abyssmal. If you are just a 'normal' lady, then I asm sure you would be fine with the care they provide.
Kings do have a very very good reputation, but as Barcelona says this is based on Nikolades and other world famous/best in the world doctors -like mine Prof Amiel. For normal births, this would not be so relevant.

Oblomov Thu 08-Jan-09 10:35:46

agree with spillage - go local.
my dh had to drive 2 hrs from surrey to kings, every time to see me. and kings is in denmark hill, which is just a frightening place.
plus, mw continuity of care awful. the transfer from mw's at kings to mw's locally was a right muck up.

TheLadyEvenstar Thu 08-Jan-09 10:38:34

Sorry to throw a spanner in the works here regarding Kings. I had ds2 in september 2007 at home totally unplanned, i had just moved that day and so was no longer able to go to St Thomas' as planned. I was taken to kings as ds2 was a month prem and tiny with it.

I would NEVER go back there for any reason. They took ds2 to scbu the morning after he was born and from that moment on i was not allowed to hold him, feed him, touch him etc. He was only jaundice, they were trying to get him to feed 2 oz of milk every hour as he was tiny. I kept asking if i could bf him as he didn't like the ff and was constantly told no. In the end i lost my temper on the friday night (had him on tuesday) and told them i was taking him home, on saturday. On saturday morning the dr came to see me and told me i could not take him home but they would allow me to feed him FINALLY!!! I began bf at 11am and the following morning i was home with him, as he had fed constantly for almost 3 hours....he sure was hungry lol.

piximon Thu 08-Jan-09 20:50:09

I had ds1 at the QE in 2003 and it was an awful exp, in most ways I can think of. The after care esp left much to be desired.

I then had dts there end of 2006 and it was better but I think mainly because dts considered high risk and I wanted (and had) natural delivery. The hospital was dirty (dh had to clean the toilet), they often close the ward as they are too full and if you plan to breast feed make sure you have an idea what you're doing before you go in as they were always to busy to give me any support.

Hope everything goes well whichever you choose.

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