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St Thomas v Kings

(39 Posts)
firsttimer08 Tue 23-Jun-15 01:25:40

I know this has been discussed before but I was wondering if there are some latest experiences on this topic.

Kings for me is literally 5 mins drive away as we are in Dulwich. Scanning department I have heard is amazing but due to recurrent miscarriages and other issues so far I have used the Fetal Medicine Centre which is basically run by the same Professor - privately. My 12 week scan is also going to be there. So I could take advantage of the 20 and 32 "advanced. Scan" offered at Kings - free of cost which is a plus.
However given its likely to be a high risk pregnancy and delivery and post natal care is v important to me I am veering a bit towards booking in at St Thomas.

I work in the city so probably getting to antenatal appointments from work to St Thomas should be ok.

So key question for me is which hospital has better consultants if I have a complicated pregnancy - assuming I make it this far - and more supportive delivery and facilities especially if it's a premature baby. Think that will be a swing factor for me rather than the excellent /adequate scanning.

Any thoughts? Grateful to hear any recent positive / negative stories. Thank you!!

firsttimer08 Tue 23-Jun-15 08:35:51

I have heard post natal care is rubbish in both but how about actual delivery experience and quality of midwifes?

My previous experience was at Queen's Elizabeth and while my labour and delivery were v smooth I found the midwifes v inconsiderate. They were actually very amused to see me in pain and chided me several times for screaming too much!

Dildals Tue 23-Jun-15 15:04:50

I gave birth at King's first time round (I live 10 mins walk from King's). The scanning dept is very good, the scans I got there were v extensive, but then again, I was pregnant with twins, so I got a bit of extra attention anyway. I was a bit worried the scans at St Thomas would be not so good, but actually it was perfectly fine and some of the scanning people at St Thomas trained under the (in)famous Kypros Nicolaides :-).

This time round I am going for St Thomas's. I work 5 mins walk away from St Thomas so I also thought it would be convenient for antenatal appts. HOWEVER! Because you're out of the St Thomas catchment area you get allocated to the Westminster team, which operates out of Aylesbury Health Centre, which is the most dreadful and depressing place you've ever been to! (It's behind East Street market on the Walworth Rd) I asked whether I could be seen in the antenatal clinic at St Thomas but it didn't seem to be possible (although by sheer luck I did manage to get there).

The other big benefit of going with King's, given where you live, is that you can get on to case load care, which means seeing the same midwife during your pregnancy, and she will come to your house as well. Depending on who your GP is you may need to lobby a bit to get on to case load care (ie call them up) but it should be possible.

With regards to the consultants I am not sure whether the consultants are better at one hospital over the other. I did find out that you can request to be seen by the actual consultant you're under. If you don't request this you end up being seen by a different registrar every time, which, depending on why you are high risk, can be pretty annoying.

Hope this helps!

Dildals Tue 23-Jun-15 15:14:30

Just rereading your post. If you're at risk of delivering preterm, St Thomas has a preterm surveillance clinic which I found really useful.

I think both neonatal units are v good. They each have their own specialisations to a certain degree so if your baby has a certain issue you may end up getting transferred anyway. We were in King's NNU for 7 weeks and can't fault them really.

lightgreenglass Tue 23-Jun-15 15:17:12

I have had consultant care at Kings for both of my pregnancies and they are incredibly thorough, their scanning department is second to none. I've had multiple scans thoroughout my pregnancy and if anything they are too thorough. I fell asleep in a couple of them.

My waters broke at 34 weeks and my baby is in the NICU at the moment and once again I have nothing but praise for the staff on the ward.

The antenatal and postnatal wards are a bit grim and the staff on those wards are a mixed bag - most of the people I encountered were lovely. The labour ward is the same - I was induced for both pregnancies, felt very looked after in both and second birth was smooth sailing, they had a cot reserved in NICU in case we needed to go on the ward and the baby doctors visited straight after the birth to check DS over.

Having had a premature baby I would rather be closer to home than be travelling to westminister to see my baby.

Dildals Tue 23-Jun-15 15:25:17

OK, final comment! If you think you'll end up in the NNU, you're better off being as close as possible, because you'll be travelling there every day!

firsttimer08 Tue 23-Jun-15 17:59:10


Thanks for the responses. Seems like being closer is a far better option than trekking over to Wesminster! Especially in traffic. Also we don't have much family around in London so we need to manage around DS school and other arrangements.

The Ayelsbury health centre sounds awful. It is actually 40mins bus ride from work so hardly convenient either.

Booking in with GP tomorrow and think I may go for Kings.

One of my neighbours opted for Kings and the other for St Thomas. Will try and speak to them too to understand the reasoning.

How are the midwives so far at St Thomas? I am worried about the mixed bag midwifes at Kings especially given my previous bad experience at QEH. I have a preconception that maybe the quality of midwifes will be better at St Thomas?

Are both hospitals v busy?

Dildals Tue 23-Jun-15 21:07:45

lightgreenglass If you see Dr Bhat walking around give him a big kiss from me, I love that man.

cunchofbunts Tue 23-Jun-15 21:16:43

I'm at King's and was last time round too.

Antenatal care I cannot fault at all. All the midwives and consultants I have dealt with have been fantastic.

The scans at King's are unbelievably thorough. Each one has taken over two hours with me as they couldn't get all the measurements so sent me away for a bit to have a jiggle and then a re-scan.

I also had a traumatic birth last time due to a variety of circumstances and I've been able to have long discussions with consultants about this. In fact, I had a birth debrief about my first birth with one of the Consultant Midwifes which lasted about two hours.

Postnatally, yes the ward is shit. But I have heard exactly the same about St Thomas, Lewisham etc.

Dildals Tue 23-Jun-15 21:21:18

That's why I think getting on to case load care is so important firsttimer so you can avoid the mixed bag of hospital midwives! I didn't want some random MW rocking up at my birth so I was extremely keen to get case load care. I imagine that with both King's and St Thomas you can get lucky with the MWs and unlucky.

It will be loads easier to get case load care if you go with King's. Your case load MW will then come in to hospital with you to help you through your birth. The golden standard of midwifery.

If you go with St Thomas you will fall outside of the catchment area of Aylesbury midwives (not to be confused with the Aylesbury Health Centre!), Brierley, Lanes etc, they can't attend births at St Thomas's. I did manage to get on to case load care with South Bank Midwives in the end, but I had to push really hard. Also, Southbank Midwives is on Walworth Rd, and they won't visit you at home, again because you're out of the catchment area, so again, not convenient for you.

Dildals Tue 23-Jun-15 21:22:42

(I should add that for me, personally, King's simply wasn't an option, but that's quite specific to my circumstances)

lisaloulou84 Tue 23-Jun-15 21:27:40

I'm in Dulwich too and gave birth at Kings last year. It is extremely busy - I had to wait 3 days for induction but I don't think that's necessarily any different than other London hospitals. DS was in the NICU and I absolutely cannot fault them. I spent a lot of time there as I was around the corner and had nowhere else to be, and saw a lot of babies who were on their own a lot because the mothers were coming from much further which was quite sad and a huge strain on the nurses come feeding time. I would definitely opt for kings to be nearby, with a complicated pregnancy you don't know how long you might be in as well as the baby and there's a lot to be said for being so close for all those extra things you might need, quick visits from your OH etc. You also might get Maria the magic boob lady and that's worth it in itself!

Dildals Tue 23-Jun-15 21:33:41

I am intrigued! I didn't meet Maria the magic boob lady!

The 2 lactation consultants at the neonatal unit were v good though.

firsttimer just wanted to add (I seem incapable of one coherent post, sorry) that another way of avoiding the mixed bag of MWs you could consider hiring an independent midwives. Neighbourhood Midwives gets really good reviews, their prices are on their website too.

lisaloulou84 Tue 23-Jun-15 21:40:09

Maria is actually just a part time healthcare assistant, an old
Italian lady, but I think not being a lactation specialist just made her better, she just knew all the best tricks without the training. I would have had some seriously bad mastitis if not for her.

lightgreenglass Wed 24-Jun-15 09:31:57

I will if I see him today as DS is going to be discharged today - hooray.

I would second the idea of an independent midwife or doula if you are dubious about the midwives.

Dildals Wed 24-Jun-15 11:24:31

Oh how exciting lightgreenglass! Lovely! In a strange twisted way I sort of miss the neonatal unit. hmm

Firsttimer if you're considering a doula I can recommend Beccy Hands. She's local.

firsttimer08 Wed 24-Jun-15 11:33:49

Wonderful news light green!!

Regarding caseload midwife - do I need to request specifically? Going to go for Kings based on everything I have heard so far. Have GP appointment today to refer me!! I guess I can always change if I change my mind but I don't think views of Westminster should sway the choice ;)

Dildals Wed 24-Jun-15 12:07:46

Yes, ask your GP whether they are affiliated with a particular community midwife team.

My GP didn't seem to realise that they were actually affiliated with Aylesbury midwives! When I spoke to the Aylesbury MWs they said that any antenatal referral automatically gets put in their pigeon hole, but I won't trust them on it, however, if they're 'full' for your DD, you get referred in to the normal antenatal system.

If GP doesn't have a satisfactory answer I would go on East Dulwich Forum and ask which midwives you would be in catchment for. Also, I would give Brierley MWs a call, as I am thinking you would be in catchment for them. They should also be able to tell you where you might be in catchment for. Another one is The Lanes.

Good luck!

firsttimer08 Wed 24-Jun-15 12:16:54

Thank you dildalas and also on doula recommendation. I haven't thought about it yet but maybe once I am further along (fingers crossed) I will do the research!

firsttimer08 Wed 24-Jun-15 18:03:25

Ok all done now. King's it is smile

Dildals Thu 25-Jun-15 14:26:40

Great. Hope all goes well!

DoloresLandingham Sat 27-Jun-15 10:34:32

Which GP surgery are you with? The wonderful Lanes team are affiliated with DMC Crystal Palace Road and women registered there have priority. You can self-refer; I did, and was very very lucky to get a place as I wasn't at DMC CPR. Ring them directly and get your name down. The care is outstanding.

Brierly specialise in supporting women with MH issues, and those who want a home birth.

Oakwood are another caseload team and are based at Forest Hill Group practice. You may be able to self-refer but I'm not sure. An NCT friend had great care from them.

I don't know much about the Aylesbury midwives - are they the team who replaced Albany?

Definitely post on the east Dulwich forum as suggested upthread, in 'family room discussion'. You'll find women with experience of all these teams.

Dildals Sat 27-Jun-15 13:31:36

Yes I think they are dolores (Aylesbury replacing Albany). My GP practice (Lister) on Peckham Rd refers to them, but since poster lives in Dulwich. I guess she could always self refer.

I spoke to a lady at Aylesbury MWs and she was very very very nice. She almost swayed me to go with King's and that's saying a lot.

excitedbutsick Tue 30-Jun-15 17:06:43

I have been under King's for my care and am currently under the Brierley midwives. I have to say that the care from them has been fantastic, I really trust the entire team and it was really reassuring to have a midwife at the birth who I had met before. Post birth I feel that I can bleep at any time if I am finding it difficult or that something is not as expected or I am worried about anything. I feel listened to and that my thoughts and feelings count when making a plan of care.

firsttimer08 Mon 06-Jul-15 05:12:34

Sorry I missed last few posts!
I have been assigned the hospital midwifes and also an obstetrician due to high risk. I can see the same MW if I go on a Wed. I didn't ask about the caseload MW as I assumed due to high risk I am seeing the hospital MW and consultant team jointly.

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