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UCH, Whittington or St Mary's any opinions?

(34 Posts)
Annie105 Tue 29-Dec-15 19:47:21

Hi all I'm in my first trimester with my first baby and still working out where to give birth after a house move. Does any one out there have any experience of birth at the above hospitals? I'm currently having some counselling as I've always had a terrible phobia of pregnancy and birth so I may need to go down an elective caesarean route if I can't improve on my fears!!

Anyway that issue aside for now I would appreciate good or bad feedback on the above or indeed any other local hospitals. I live in Islington now.


angelpuffs Tue 29-Dec-15 19:53:33

Hi Annie
I had my dd1 at the Royal free and am having dd2 at the Whittington. In going down the elective cs route this time for various reasons and my consultant the Whittington has been great about it. PM me if you decide to honesty the Whittington and I can tell you who she is. I've been happy with the care st the Whittington so far though have heard the post natal ward is pretty awful- but then it was at the Royal free too. Good luck X

Annie105 Wed 30-Dec-15 10:46:58

Thank you so much for responding Angel Puffs. That sounds positive, if you don't mind I will PM you if I decide to proceed with Whittington. It does sound like post natal care is an issue across many if not all London hospitals! X

AbbeyRoadCrossing Wed 30-Dec-15 10:54:52

The Whittington are pretty pro c section so you should get one there. You'll be on the post natal ward though which isn't the best.
I had DS there last year. Antenatal care was busy and I never saw the same midwife twice and had many appointments late as they are over booked.
Everything else I was happy with, scans etc.
Ended up with an EMCS and premature baby unfortunately but no one's fault (low lying placenta)
The ward was awful. Very understaffed and partners can stay 24/7 which you might like but after an EMCS I was on the corner (it's about 28 beds) with the curtains slightly open for observation and I hated all the men around. Some were really inconsiderate. You could pay for a private room though if you've got the money.
I had DD (DC2) recently elsewhere. Turns out I had a rare blood condition from the transfusion at the Whittington, although they wouldn't release my notes to my consultant or respond to any questions about it.
I hear the birth centre at the Whittington is good but with a c section you'll be on the ward
Good luck and hope all goes well

AbbeyRoadCrossing Wed 30-Dec-15 10:57:59

Not used UCH myself but I hear they also allow partners to stay and have a busy ward. But you do get tests etc back very quickly as they do them there.

angelpuffs Wed 30-Dec-15 11:57:02

Interesting about the private rooms abbey- is that definitely the case that you can pay for them? I was told you couldn't...? I'm dreading the post natal ward- so noisy and stressful confused

AbbeyRoadCrossing Wed 30-Dec-15 15:22:42

I'm not sure - I thought you could but might've changed since last year. I got one in the end as I'd been in over a week and they felt sorry for me I think!

angelpuffs Wed 30-Dec-15 15:44:01

Abbey- I'll ask again about the private rooms at my next appointment- I read on the web site before choosing the Whittington that they did have private rooms and it was one of the reasons I chose than hospital! it's difficult because they give them firstly to women who need them but what happens if you pay for one and then someone who needs it more than you comes onto the ward later?
Annie- please do feel free to pm me- if you're early in your pregnancy you will have more flexibility on who your consultant is and mine is great :-)

AbbeyRoadCrossing Wed 30-Dec-15 18:31:19

I know it's hard but as one of the women that really needed one I think that's the way it should be done. For example, is it right that someone rich should have priority over someone without their baby? Personally I don't think it is.
You might be able to get one because of your phobia perhaps? Or go private?

AbbeyRoadCrossing Wed 30-Dec-15 18:37:47

Sorry, it was the OP with the phobia - misread it

Hamsolo Wed 30-Dec-15 18:53:22

I had a baby at UCH in 2013, and can vouch for the clinical care being excellent. You're assigned to a named midwife team so see someone from the same group of not the same person. The scanning team are excellent, and you have the combined test results back within an hour of your 12 week scan, so no worrying for days about that.

But, I ended up with an emcs for foetal distress, and would say the post natal ward is pretty dire.

I was in labour for 36 hours prior to the emcs, and I was exhausted, emotional, and found it overwhelming. It was noisy, crowded... We asked for a private room, which we had to pay something like £180 a night for, and that made it bearable, (other than the cost!). I was in tears through exhaustion at that point so we didn't have a lot of choice really. There was no prioritising of those rooms by clinical need, by the way, just willingness to pay and first to ask.

I'm now 13 weeks pregnant again, and back at UCH, as I found the antenatal care so good. It's sill good. I'm thinking of swapping to the Whittington for the birth, but am undecided. I will probably have an ELCS this time around, so I will need to stay in at least 2 nights and I hate the thought of 2 nights on that busy ward when you really need sleep!

As a pp said though, post natal care is bad across London... So it may not be worth changing.

Glitterspy Wed 30-Dec-15 19:05:57

I had dd1 at UCH and the clinical care was absolutely top of the range - and I'm very picky about these things having lost FIL to a nasty hospital acquired infection in 2005.

UCH is a huge, busy, international research hospital with all that brings - midwives, paeds and obstetric doctors from all over the world, each with different backgrounds and experience (I count that as a good thing), extensive research programmes, incredible neonatal care (apparently - dd1 didn't require it). I wouldn't hesitate to go there again or recommend it to anyone else. Only thing is as it's central London there's no car parking (you'll be labouring in a taxi, which, in rush hour, is no fun believe me) and I agree with pp who said the postnatal ward was busy and loud - but that's the same anywhere. I got a side room after my first night and that was very comfortable and I was very well cared for. It did cost but it was well worth it.

I was also offered Whittington but it was near closure for A&E and I didn't fancy the risk when UCH was on my doorstep at the time. Friends who had their DCs at Royal Free had only good things to say, but I haven't any detailed anecdotes.

I've since moved home and had ds2 in a (carefully-researched) small regional hospital - the care was also excellent (actually the obstetric doctor had been to med school at UCH star) but it didn't compare to the 'big, posh' London hospital.

HTH and congratulations!

Glitterspy Wed 30-Dec-15 19:07:58

p.s. you pay on discharge for the side rooms at UCH, not upfront (unless things have changed since my day) to avoid the scenario where you've paid then feel you 'own' the room if someone with a greater need is put into it.

angelpuffs Wed 30-Dec-15 19:25:10

As glitterspy said- one way of doing it would be to charge for the rooms upon discharge. Of course women who need the rooms should get first priority, but equally you'd be pretty upset if you'd paid £200 for a room only to get turfed out at 1am!

Tallulahoola Wed 30-Dec-15 23:34:25

I've had two at UCH, one in 2013 and one last month. As someone said above, it's a teaching hospital so the standard of medical care is very high - I ended up with an EMCS both times and knew I was in safe hands. I was really happy with the choice.

I never wanted a private room because I found it reassuring to be in a ward with midwives passing by all the time so I could ask them for help (seriously, with my first I had to ask them how to put a nappy on because I had no idea blush) but was amazed to discover they've gone up from about £250 when I was there first time to £850 a night now. I kid you not.

Annie105 Thu 31-Dec-15 14:38:15

All thanks for further information I wasn't aware you might be able to request/pay for a private room after birth. Although the costs are obviously quite different! Can't believe how expensive UCH is!

Abbey sounds like you didn't have an amazing experience at Whittington so I'm sorry to hear that but thanks for your input it's got me thinking about how I'd cope on a ward with lots of other people in various stages.

Ham solo were you in a 36 hour labour in a ward full of other people?! Does this happen? Yikes!! I'll be interested to hear if you change your birth to Whittington.

Again thanks Glitterspy for your experience and opinion of UCH. That helps a lot.

Interesting on your perspective of the benefit of being on a ward post birth Tallulah I hadn't thought of that angle.

These opinions are really helping me as they are ensuring I'm asking myself what's important to me to help with my phobia. I feel pathetic being so terrified of the pregnancy and birth so this is helping me take control a bit more. I really appreciate all the honest opinions and pieces of information on this thread from you all.

My counsellor suggested I look into private birth where it will be a bit more tailored and consistent in that respect but I had a heart stack when I looked up the cost! I thought if it was 3 ish thousand we could do it somehow but it's more like 10!!

Wisteria1979 Thu 31-Dec-15 14:47:24

I had DC1 at st Mary's. Big and busy but a massive teaching hospital and so you expect that. No experience of c sec though but started at birth centre on ground but had to be taken up to labour ward part way through. I'd say before and after care not great but I always felt in safe competent hands. Just have a think about what is really important to you and prioritise that. For me I just wanted something as near home as possible with as many professionals nearby if needed, I wasn't too bothered about the caring side of it but we are all different.

Annie105 Thu 31-Dec-15 14:54:06

Wisteria thanks for that. I've been in St Mary's a couple of times and it was near where I used to live so hence why it was still in my list. I think it was familiarity! You are right I need to list what's important to me and see which hospital is going to be most likely to deliver that. London NHS maternity units just all seem so overwhelmed and understaffed (according to all the press I read) and that terrifies me!

Vinorosso74 Thu 31-Dec-15 20:23:01

Had my DD at Whittington and I was happy with the care I received. Post natal ward wasn't great (I didn't have c-section so was mobile) and understaffed which seems to be the norm wherever you are. The midwife team were great both ante and post natal.

Vinorosso74 Thu 31-Dec-15 20:25:49

OP have you looked into a doula at all (not that I used one) as support?

angelpuffs Thu 31-Dec-15 20:40:06

Vinorosso- can you shed any light on whether there are private rooms available at the Whittington? And also whether the post natal ward has 24 beds in one huge ward, or if it's divided into smaller bays?

Vinorosso74 Thu 31-Dec-15 20:59:54

There are private rooms available at the Whittington. Am not sure on details though. The midwife who ran our antenatal class did talk about them.
I think the post natal ward is a T shape with beds along the top line of the T if that makes sense. It is an old fashioned lay out compared to other wards within the hospital. To be honest I wouldn't let the layout put you off though. I would recommend doing tours of the maternity units too.

Annie105 Fri 01-Jan-16 11:03:31

Hi ladies happy new year to all of you. Vinorosso no I haven't looked into a doula but I will do some research today. I was concerned a doula would be all about a natural birth and would be very against elcs but maybe I should contact a couple locally to see what kind of vibe I get. Thanks for that tip and feedback on Whittington

Vinorosso74 Fri 01-Jan-16 11:35:43

Happy New Year to you too!
I think the idea of a doula is to provide emotional support and give you confidence rather than push you into giving birth in a particular way. Be honest about your fears as they're not there to judge but support you.
Only downside is they may not be able to be present in theatre you have a c-section as you may only be able to have your partner with you.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Fri 01-Jan-16 18:00:09

The postnatal ward at the Whittington is a long corridor with the midwife station in the centre and another corridor coming off it with the rooms in. I was on the corner by the midwife station as I'd had EMCS and they needed to observe. So rather noisy but unavoidable
I'm not sure if it's the case for elective but for emergency they want you on the ward the first night so they can see you at all times. You could ask to move to a quieter corner after the first night / once mobile?

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