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St Helier's experience

(29 Posts)
Eminado Mon 25-Jan-16 11:51:50


Anyone have any recent experience of antenatal care and/or birth at St Helier's in Carshalton.

Had my first DD at Kingston and would go back there but have since moved house.

Had a MC which was handled by St Helier's and while staff were kind, there were quite overstretched and maybe not as attentive (egforgot to give me painkillers, forgot to cancel my 12 week scan and someone phoned me up to scold me about missing an appointment and I had to say well my baby is dead etc)

Am now expecting again and have had a few issues - referral from GP not being processed for over a month, reassurance scan not being booked in despite request from GP being on the 2 copies of the referral sent, erroneously missing out my 12 week scan and booked for 20 week scan instead ....

All a bit of a nightmare and I am just wondering whether I might actually be better off somewhere else.

So just hoping anyone can let me know how they found it?

Also what would you do in my situ after having to chase so much and stuff going wrong/ missing etc?


VagueIdeas Mon 25-Jan-16 12:03:52

I had my daughter at St Helier in 2011, so a while ago now. I too had to chase my own referral in the first trimester, getting my GP surgery to fax through again because the hospital had no record of me. I did at least get my 12 week scan on time, but I didn't have a booking appointment until AFTER then, and at extremely short notice (I got a letter telling me to come for an appointment the following morning!). So, no contact with HCPs for the entire first trimester. I doubt that kind of thing is especially unusual though hmm

Midwife care during the birth at the MLU was excellent. Postnatal care was absolutely shocking in so many respects that I won't go into - but again, sadly, I know that is fairly normal across the UK. I've posted on many threads where women have compared horror stories just like mine.

Didn't get a visit from midwives the day after being discharged, because they had a homebirth. They weren't to know this, but I was very mentally unwell (due to sleep deprivation and aforementioned bad postnatal care) and my newborn was - I know now - suffering the effects of dehydration because breastfeeding wasn't just going badly, it wasn't working at all.

So, I have a lot of issues with how things went. But equally, I can't say for sure that this means maternity care with St Helier is bad, or whether that sort of care is standard across overstretched departments all over London/the UK.

Having said that, I had my second in Essex and the postnatal care couldn't have been more different - but I did make VERY sure to get myself discharged within 24 hours (even though I'd had a section). Minimising your time spent on the ward is essential. That's my advice smile

BlingBubbles Mon 25-Jan-16 12:30:18

I had my DD there in 2011 and it was a disaster, I basically ended giving birth in a make shift labour room as the labour ward was full so I couldn't get a room, even though I was induced 12 hours before. I was left on the maternity ward with 6 other woman right up until the point I was about to deliver, if it wasn't for my competent DH God knows what would have happened.

The MW who delivered my DD was great and thank goodness it was a quick and easy delivery. I had DD in the morning and got myself out of the hospital by 17:00, couldn't stand another second of it.

So, no I wouldn't go back there if you payed me but I know people who have had good experiences so maybe I was just unlucky.

ARichVernacular Mon 25-Jan-16 12:42:20

Interesting. I too had my DD there in 2011 and it was great - good ante and postnatal care, brilliant delivery (induction that went much better than I expected), and staff were lovely. I had borderline GD so had to attend the specialist antenatal clinic for that, and waiting times were fairly awful, but otherwise I can't say I had any problems.

I was on the ward for a day or so and it was fine, but then I didn't really need any aftercare so possibly wouldn't have seen any issues.

VagueIdeas Mon 25-Jan-16 12:53:53

You too, Bling? flowers

Rich - minimal time on the ward definitely helps! I was there for nearly four days (due to bad tear and major breastfeeding issues, for which I received next to no useful help, as they never had any time to spend with me) and it was the worst experience of my life. Being an old hospital, the call bell system was basically a klaxon blaring up and down the corridor 24/7. Sleep was impossible. Thankfully it's a long time ago now, but I'm still angry when I think about how I, and goodness knows how many women like me, were failed.

I do think it's endemic across NHS maternity care, though. Those who emerge happy and unscathed are lucky.

Eminado Mon 25-Jan-16 13:12:15

Thank you for all your replies. sad
I am really sorry for all your bad experiences.

So would you move if you were me?
Kingston is heaving though.
And Epsom is quite a trek. sad

VagueIdeas Mon 25-Jan-16 13:13:55

Where do you live (roughly, if you don't want to out yourself!). Is St George's too far?

Micah Mon 25-Jan-16 13:17:40

Minimising your time spent on the ward is essential. That's my advice

This x several million. I honestly can't understand people who are "I want to stay at least one night to help get bf sorted/shown how to change a nappy/bath baby/help with the baby"

NO. Go home, work it out yourself with your partner. Two of you at home with one baby is far, far better than you alone in hospital with m/w so overworked they simply don't have time for questions. Get LLL or similar to help with bf if you need help, m/w are usually clueless.

Eminado Mon 25-Jan-16 13:39:20

I am in Carshalton/Wallington. St Georges is too far. So it's Epsom, St Helier's or Kingston.

HTKB Mon 25-Jan-16 15:16:38

How about CUH? Wallington seems too far from kingston to me, especially for a second baby.

HBSBeeches Mon 25-Jan-16 20:03:35


I'm in Carshalton too. I opted out of the local system but my NCT group all went to Epsom bar one and they loved it. It's much closer than Kingston but then again you know Kingston.

Hope this helps

Eminado Mon 25-Jan-16 20:41:51


Thank you - do you mean you went private? Would you mind if i pm'd you, if so.

Thanks for the prompts about Epsom and CUH (previously dismissed as hate croydon generally blush)

akated Mon 25-Jan-16 20:55:30

I have had all three of my children at or via St Helier and the care during labour has been great.
First was born on the delivery suit in 2010 and the midwife was fab the post birth care on the maternity ward however was not so good due to a shortage of midwives.
Second was born in 2012 a water birth in the birthing centre, this was a much nicer way to give birth and I was able to stay in the room until discharged six hours later. Would highly recommend this and you can always go on one of the tours.
Third was a home birth in 2015 with help from the community midwives at St Helier. I had the same midwife for nearly all of my appointments and had previously met the two midwives who came to my house for the birth. I know home birth is not for everyone but in my opinion it's the one that provides the higher level of care as the midwife who comes to your house is only dealing with you so you have the one on one care you need.
Whatever your decision try and go on a tour if having a hospital birth to get a feel of the place, good luck.

Eminado Mon 25-Jan-16 20:59:52

Hi Akated

You raise a good point about tours and home births.

I had a pretty straightforward pregnancy but ended up with emcs and a distressed baby. I guess i am not exactly sure why and hence i have just gone down the hospital route. Maybe i need to investigate that angle first?

But birth aside, i need st heliers to bloody book me in first! hmm

akated Mon 25-Jan-16 21:04:57

Ahh yes getting seen first would be a good thing! If you let them know your interested in home birth you can talk to one of the community midwives - best decision I made as the care just seemed so much better / personal and at the end of the day if you change you mind at the last minute you can still pitch up at the hospital!!

HBSBeeches Mon 25-Jan-16 22:07:00

Of course

No problem

Arseface Mon 25-Jan-16 22:33:47

I had a dreadful experience at St Heliers after 2 lovely previous births at Epsom.
There was nothing wrong with me or ds but we ended up having to stay there for 10 days after initial cock ups by midwives were made worse by the overstretched post natal ward staff.
Ds lost nearly half his birth weight and was bright yellow from jaundice. I ended up having to have a blood transfusion. Despite the Drs admitting that DS and I were perfectly healthy post-birth and had been made ill by the hospital, they refused to let us leave. We were told that both the police and social services would be called and ds would be removed by force. It was only at that point that DH realised I wasn't losing my mind and there was something seriously wrong with that hospital.
DH and I can't look at DS's early baby pictures to this day. He looks like a starvation case.
There was lots of other horrible stuff too. One of the midwives did this weird thing to me straight after DS was born which I've since found out is called cervical massage. I was screaming at her to stop but she just looked me in the eye, smiled and kept on punching. It was hellish.
Just my experience but I've heard a lot of similar stories.

Eminado Mon 25-Jan-16 22:44:08




MrArseface Tue 26-Jan-16 15:30:13

Posting to elaborate on what my wife (arseface) has already said:

1) The maternity unit was really filthy. Dust on the window sills & if you ran your finger along the floor it'd come up black with grime.

2) Food. Revolting & wholly inadequate for women recovering from child birth. Sandwiches & soup for the evening meal?

3) There seemed to be a low level turf war going on between the midwife's and the paediatricians. They had completely different strategies to deal with the (low) level jaundice & constantly countermanded each other.

4) Rank inefficiency. One of the twins had a tongue tie. They failed to deal with it in the 10 days we were at the hospital. The only person who knew how to do the procedure was away on holiday. Furthermore, they were constantly disturbing the babies by taking measurements when someone else had done it 30 minutes ago. Eventually we told them to look at the previous measurements.

5) Toxic environment. One of trainee midwife's mentioned (when no one else was in the room) that she had to be very careful what she said & that there was a lot of bullying.

6) Cervical massage. I looked into this procedure. It's only 'clinically indicated' in the event of severe post partum haemorrhage. It's a hail Mary last ditch effort to save someones life. Needless to say arseface wasn't severely haemorrhaging. I suspect that she was being 'punished' for having the 'impertinence' to insist on a natural birth. They were constantly offering a caesarian section. I expect it meant they could clear off home earlier. Needless to say if this what happened that it was a pretty serious sexual assault.

7) No decent pubs in the area.

Stay away from this dump.

MaryPoppinsPenguins Tue 26-Jan-16 15:36:38

I went to Epsom for both of my births (would highly recommend!) but St Helier was where I went with two of my miscarriages and both times I still got the 12 week scan letter and asked why I had missed appointments... Plus, let's be honest, the place looks like something out of a horror film!

I'd go to Epsom if you possibly can... I paid extra for a private room and had a great experience.

VagueIdeas Tue 26-Jan-16 16:35:49

Food. Revolting & wholly inadequate for women recovering from child birth. Sandwiches & soup for the evening meal?

I remember that. And it came along really early, about 5pm. They served hot food at lunch but I missed it two days running because I wasn't physically able to leave my bed and fetch it (trying and failing to breastfeed). I only got food when DH was around to get it for me.

I'm so sorry you suffered what you did Arseface. I was cagey in my first post because I didn't want to scare the OP and I wasn't sure whether what I endured meant that St Helier was a shitty hospital. Now I'm pretty sure it is.

Plus, let's be honest, the place looks like something out of a horror film!

Like something from communist Russia.

Eminado Tue 26-Jan-16 20:10:29

I was pretty annoyed with them about my referral fiasco but I never ever expected these sorts of replies!
I am so sorry for your experiences. flowers
I am looking into the other options - will report back. I am really shocked though. I thought i was being a bit precious but this sounds ridiculous confused

ARichVernacular Wed 27-Jan-16 11:49:49

The thing is, this type of thread will always be self-selecting to some degree. I know loads of women locally who've had perfectly good pg and birth experiences at St Helier, but (understandably, given the seriousness of pp's terrible experiences up thread) don't feel as compelled to talk about them.

flowers for everyone who had a shit time.

Eminado Wed 27-Jan-16 11:57:35

Understand what you are saying Rich but I tried to make my OP as neutral as possible in the hope that at least some people would say, "yep ,had mine there, thought it was great".

What else can I do?

I lost a baby a few months ago. I am anxious. And I will be 12 weeks with this weekend with no scan, no midwife, no bloods, nothing. It has been hard. And VERY different from my 1st successful pregnancy. I might actually miss my 12 week scan and this despite so many phone calls - surely that is not right?

HBSBeeches Wed 27-Jan-16 12:19:56

I was private and happy to talk you through that experience.

Wishing you all the best.

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