Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

Anybody know anything about the Princess Royal University Hospital (Farnborugh, Kent)?

(30 Posts)
dejags Wed 18-Feb-04 13:17:05

I had DS in May 2001 at Farnborough Hospital (Kent) - since then the hospital has been knocked down, rebuilt and renamed the Princess Royal University Hospital.

I am pg again - due in September and can't decide if I want a home or hospital birth. On the one hand I would like the opportunity to rest after the birth (DS is a very active child and I know if I am at home I don't stand a chance of a sit-down!) but on the other hand I have heard a lot of horror stories about the new hospital -protracted and unattended labours, a very high caesarian rate and problems with staffing. This was not my experience first time round, having said that though I did not stick around long enough to find out about the post-natal care...

Does anybody have any experience of this hospital - all of the stuff I have heard is second hand and I don't want to base my decision on inaccurate info..


FairyMum Wed 18-Feb-04 13:27:55

I had mine in Farnbourough (DS in September 2001). I am in the same situation as you as I am due in July. What have you heard? I wasn't that impressed last time, but it's supposed to be quite a good hospital I think.
Don't you think it's more or less the same ? Same staff etc?

dejags Wed 18-Feb-04 13:37:11

Hi FairyMum

I know of several people who know other people who have had their babies there. Of the 6 people I know about they all ended up with c-sections after horrendously long labours.

The only person I actually know who has given birth there recently was in labour for 72 hours before they gave her a c-section, they just kept telling her they were busy. She went 8 hours without seeing a consultant at one point. She said the post-natal ward was horribly noisy - the midwives were the worst culprits banging and crashing about from 5.30am.

I don't know what would be worse to be in labour for 72 hours or to have a c-section. I didn't respond to 2 epidurals when having my son so I am worried that if I needed one I would end up with a general anaesthetic.

I can't say I really remember what the standard of care was first time round - how long were you in for - what were the midwives like?

Toots Thu 19-Feb-04 12:50:11

Doesn't sound great does it? Friend of mine was about to have a section there, when they had a power cut and the back up generator failed!!!! They transferred herto Woolwich hospital which seemed nice. Traumatic or what?

Twinkie Thu 19-Feb-04 13:03:19

What about St Mary's in Sidcup - is that any better??

Have been to Princess Royal but about my nose job.

FairyMum Thu 19-Feb-04 13:22:11

Yes, me too! I had c-section after a horribly long and painful labour with one of mine. I didn't like the mid-wives at all and the aftercare was horrendous. Also, the heating failed on the labour ward and all babies had to go into incubator for a while. Great! Can't wait for July and another visit. My ante-natal care was really good though.

FairyMum Thu 19-Feb-04 13:23:31

Twinkie, Have you ever been to St Mary's in Sidcup? One of my friends worked there as a doctor a few years ago and said he'd never go there as a patient......Say no more!

dejags Thu 19-Feb-04 14:00:35

Twinkie - doctor hasn't given me an option, and I have to confess since they lost a baby which had died and turned up in the laundry having gone through a hot wash I did think twice about it.

I am really feeling anxious about this - I have my booking in appt week after next and am going to raise these concerns then. Home birth is looking more and more appealing though!

Marina Thu 19-Feb-04 14:27:28

Dejags, good luck with your appointment. If you keep your options open about homebirth, I think with the NHS any maternity unit is only as good on the day as the staff it can call on (IYSWIM). Locally Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich *generally* seem better than Queen Mary or Farnborough. I had my two in Queen Elizabeth and also had very, very good care there after a stillbirth. We preferred to drive further to QE rather than go to QM, about which we heard really mixed reports, mostly bad to be honest. No experience at all of Farnborough or Lewisham - but two senior nurses I know thought Lewisham was great if chaotic postnatally. I've heard one (bad) report of the new PR hospital, but that's secondhand info of course.
The doctor may not have given you an option yet but you are entitled to choose which hospital you give birth in.

FairyMum Thu 19-Feb-04 14:28:38

Que? Baby is washing machine?

webmum Thu 19-Feb-04 14:43:16


when was you DS born exactly? My dd was born at Farnborough on 23rd May 2001!!

pie Thu 19-Feb-04 16:31:54

Hi everyone Pupuce is getting kicked off MN before she can post so has asked me to on her behalf.

She suggests you both get a doula 'at least with a doula they would get continuous support and they can even have a home birth with a doula', you are both (she believes) in her area so she can put you in touch with someone as well. If you are interested you can contact her via her website:


Festivefly Thu 19-Feb-04 16:51:54

Why is she being kicked off?

pie Thu 19-Feb-04 16:52:51

see here ff

Festivefly Thu 19-Feb-04 16:57:06

Thanks i thought she'd been naughty

dejags Thu 19-Feb-04 17:09:34

Marina - thanks for that I wasn't aware that I had a choice.

FairyMum - there was a story in the newspapers a while ago about a baby being lost in the hospital (if you are sensitive about this don't access the link)... here

Thanks for all your replies...

pupuce Thu 19-Feb-04 19:44:08

Pie - thanks
My connection seems to work now....

Dejags and Fairymum - do consider a birth doula as it would guarantee continuous care. I have found recently that mums I go with have FAR better care from MW (I say this because I visit them in the PN ward and they talk to other mums who bitterly complain about lack of support/presence of MW during labour).... all looking envious at the mum I just supported. I think this is because when we are there the mum has an advocate and supports her in her choices or explains why the hospital wants to do this or that at that point.... just a thought

maddiemo Fri 20-Feb-04 19:14:00

I have had two at the old Farnborough. It wasn't great and we made a complaint after ds4 birth(nov 2001). Friends that have had babies recently at the Princess Royal say it is better than before. Facilities are much better, no walking across the booking in area to get to shower.
I had my first two at the old Greenwich District and thought that was pretty good.

squirmyworm Fri 20-Feb-04 19:22:46

hi dejags - all my NCT lot used farnborough except for me. They all said it was ok in parts (varying experiences of the actual birth) but that post natally they all felt a bit abandoned and said that everyone was very busy and rushed and expected them to do everything themselves from the first minute back on the wards. I WAS going to go to Farnborough but it was all up in the air and moving when I was pg so I went to East Surrey and had a wonderful time. Would really recommend it if you are near enough. Lots of attention from a thoroughly nice team of staff and I felt very well looked after

Pook Fri 20-Feb-04 21:11:08

I had my dd in Farnborough in July. It was my first time, so at time felt ill-equipped to criticise, but having talked about the labour with many other first time mums, I'm pretty angry with my experience of the hospital. Of 8 post-natal group mums, myself and one other were the only ones to have unassisted delivery, and there were 2 emergency c-sections after long labours. A friend was not seen for hours and hours. I had my dd at 12pm and was home by 9am the following day - they seemed very busy. And I think a lot depends upon the individual midwife you get. Unfortunately when I arrived my community midwife team, all of whom I thought were great, were not told I was in and so dd was delivered by unknown midwife who at no time told me to pant or stop pushing, and as I had had epiddural, I couldn't feel massive tearing. Was stitched by a different midwife and am due to see a gyny soon as stitches have granulated and were done "too tight". Also, about 4/8 of us had infections after the birth too I don't know whether my experiences and friends' are down to bad luck, biology or just coincidence, but personally I won't be going to the Princess Royal if I have another baby - would rather be at home, or maybe will check out other hospital. Also, the food sucks.

pupuce Fri 20-Feb-04 22:39:42

Hate to bring a dose of reality to this discussion but the chances of anyone getting their community MW (or any CMW) during their labour is VERY VERY low... and chances of having a "lack of MW" (i.e. many MW and no constant care) quite high. I was speaking to a senior MW recently and she said that most maternity wards around London were understaffed by a long shot!

dejags Wed 25-Feb-04 11:07:49

An update on this - I have been looking at independent midwives. I have found a lady in our area who is available when I am due. She is coming to see us next week to discuss our options in more detail.

In brief she has given us the option of a home birth or of an attended birth at Lewisham Hospital (she has an agreement with this hospital and can deliver there). The Princess Royal does not allow Independent Midwives to deliver there, although you can ask your midwife to be a birth supporter.

DH is now happier with the idea of a home birth and says that he will support me 100% whatever choice we decide to go with.

Does anybody know how much an Independent Midwife costs?

pupuce Wed 25-Feb-04 11:13:00

At least £2.500 and up to £5.000 - depends on the MW.

Bozza Wed 25-Feb-04 12:12:50

I think you are right Pupuce and thats one of the reasons I am going for a home birth. Although chances are I won't know the community midwife especially if it happens out of hours when I'll get whoever's on call but at least I will get continuity of care.

dejags Wed 25-Feb-04 12:29:18

sheeeesh!!!! up to £5k... I had no idea it would be that expensive. I could have my baby at the Portland under a Private Consultant for that and probably still have some change...

Oh well I will wait to see what comes of next week - now off to join the "anybody considering a homebirth" thread...

thanks for replying

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: