Darent Valley Hospital, Princess Royal University Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital(10 Posts)
I'm just looking for some advice... I am 5 weeks pregnant with my first child. I had an appointment at my Doctors surgery today and they said that I need to register with a midwife. There are three hospitals that are equal distance to me: Darent Valley Hospital (Dartford), Princess Royal University Hospital (Orpington) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Woolwich). I was wondering if anyone has any experience with these hospitals in terms of midwifes (for the appointments whilst pregnant/antenatal care)? And also for birth/labour?
Hi, and congratulations on the pregnancy!
I had my DD a month ago at QEH. Antenatal appointments were all done by the community midwife team at my local Drs (I am in Greenwich). They were ok, my pregnancy was low risk until the v end and appointments were v much a tick box exercise, but it didn't bother me. If you are looking for 'care' though it wasn't great. We moved to Lewisham hospital at 34 weeks because the plan was to try and has baby at midwife led unit there. Plan didn't work and ended up having her at QEH as they believed I had obstetric cholestasis (I didn't) and insisted on inducing me. It is a v busy hospital. I was classed as 'high risk' and needed to be induced on delivery suite but waited 24 hours for a bed. In the end I went into labour naturally (and fast) and only spent 90 mins in delivery as they still couldn't find a room. The postnatal ward was ok as well. It took an age to be discharged. I had baby at 1.30 on sat afternoon but couldn't leave until 4pm Sunday despite the fact there was ok medical reasons to stay, they just couldn't find a Dr to do her newborn checks. The staff in delivery and antenatal were really good though, although my delivery midwife had to be brought in from postnatal because it was so busy. The Drs less so. I had particular issue with the idiot that ibis itself on inducing me despite not having all my blood test results back.
So it wasn't a 'lovely' birth experience but wasn't as bad as I expected it to be either. Apparently there will be a lovely new midwife led unit opening there soon which should be good, but it's 6 months or so behind schedule already.
The other two hospitals are quite far from me personally so not sure about them. A colleague had his LO a Dartford at recommended it to me when I was moaning about QEH.
think all London hospitals suffer from similar business problems, so we hired a doula which made a huge difference to the experience (you can google s e London doulas to get a list of local ones).
Hope that helps a little
I had DC1 at QEH back in 2006. I was under consultant care and saw a completely different doctor every time I went, and never the main consultant - it was only their registrars of which there seemed to be, frankly, dozens. I'd often be waiting over an hour for my appointments too. The EPU there was very hit and miss - some sonographers lovely, some less so.. spent a lot of time there as had a few losses as well.
The delivery was done by bank staff who were brusque, didn't listen to me, and made mistakes that caused short term and far wider-reaching long term issues.
The postnatal ward was a complete nightmare of under-resourcing - most of the midwives and nurses were lovely but there's only so much you can do when there is too much to do.
My community midwives were 95% lovely though - only one awful one who carried on talking to her colleague when I was sobbing over the pain of my SPD! The rest were really truly wonderful people.
I had DC2 in 2008 at Kings College after I insisted I would not go back to QEH especially as the mistakes made during delivery had made me very high risk so I wanted to be in the best hands possible. Better medical care (especially the scans) but again dreadful postnatal ward that suffered from a lack of resources, and sadly some really bad attitudes from a few of the midwives although there were some angels there too.
Despite living deep in SE London near Plumstead, I managed to get myself into Chelsea and Westminster for DC3 in 2011 due to the specialist condition I have, and it was like night and day compared to the other two. The post natal part was hardly up to the standard of private healthcare of course but it was what you would expect as a bare minimum from the NHS, instead of far below. The medical care was excellent.
I actually considered Darent after a lot of research and may well have ended up there for DC3 had C&W not offered.
I had a baby at QEH in November. I definitely do not recommend it. As others have said, it's way too busy and under-resourced. Possibly other London hospitals are also busy, but one difference to consider is visiting hours policy. You should check, but I think both Darent and Princess Royal allow partners on the postnatal ward 24 hours a day, but QEH only allows them during visiting hours, so you're on your own to take care of yourself and your new baby overnight.
I didn't take this into consideration, thinking I likely wouldn't be in hospital for very long, as my pregnancy was low risk, but things ended up not going so well, and my baby and I were there for over a week.
If you do go with QEH, don't make any decisions based on any timescales that staff use, as everything takes much longer. For example, my waters part broke and I was in slow labour. Staff told me they would take me to the delivery suite and fully break my waters once it had been 24 hours, at 10pm. But 10pm came and went without them having any available rooms, and I had to wait until noon the next day . If I'd had any idea it would be so long, I likely would have made very different decisions about pain relief.
Delays of that length happened again and again, not just to me, but also to other women on the ward. So, every time someone says something will happen in some amount of time, you need to assume you will need to wait many, many more hours and make your decisions accordingly.
I could rant about QEH for much longer, but I guess I won't. Overall, it was a horrible experience.
Every time I've been admitted to QEH (three times now) I've had to threaten to just walk out in order to get a doctor to FINALLY appear to sign me out. Sometimes even a day later.
No wonder they're under-resourced.. people are stuck in beds waiting for signatures when they're perfectly healthy to go!
I'll never forget delivering DD1 at 8.15pm (so I laboured over dinner time) - they took an HOUR to get around to stitching me up, leaving me legs all over the place bleeding in the meantime. They didn't bring any pain relief (paracetamol was all they offered too until two hours after birth. Then after all that and I was so weak with hunger, they had nothing to offer me to eat, not even toast or a vending machine. So despite giving birth and missing dinner, all I had were the dried cranberries I thought to pack in my hospital bag until "breakfast" the next morning. Which they bypassed me for and I only found out about after it had gone.. luckily I got discharged at 11am. Would have been much sooner if they had anyone spare to sign anything, would have been later if I hadn't threatened to walk out!
Sad to see nothing has changed in 7.5 years
I had my baby in the birth centre at the PRUH, and found it to be a very good experience.
All my ante-natal care was done shared care (so appointments with the midwives were at my local doctor's in Chislehurst) and while I hadn't previously met the midwife who helped me to deliver, she stayed with me throughout the whole process (even though her shift must have been up at some point! If you are ever on here Charlotte, you were an absolute star)
I didn't have the water birth I'd hoped for, but that was just because the heating was broken at the time (April 2012) and it was just too bloody cold, despite the heaters that they brought in to try and put around the bath.
In the end, my son was delivered at 4.35am, and I was out and home by lunchtime - after the usual checks and once he was latching on and feeding well. The community midwives then visit you at home over the next 10 days or so (starting with the day after the birth) and I was really happy with how it all went.
Best of luck, wherever you decide to deliver.
Avoid Death Valley hospital like the plague.
QEH is nice.
had an amazing experience in the birthing unit at the pruh. midwives were brilliant.
same as the poster above i saw community midwives also amazing. couldnt fault anything (apart from the food... but thats all hospitals...). Hope u have a good experience where ever you choose.
This has just brought me a great memory! (I'm 100s of miles away and at least 10 years too old for this conversation!!). My wee brother was born in Darent Valley in 1978 (I was 7). He's about to become a dad himself. This really made me smile! All the best with your pregnancy xx
sorry about errors above... one handed typing whilst feeding 2 week old dd.
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