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Chelsea & Westminster OR St. Thomas'?

(16 Posts)
mumchristina Wed 11-May-16 19:01:57

Hi, does anyone have recent NHS experience at either C&W or St. Thomas'? please share your experiences, positives and negatives, labour, aftercare, how long was your stay? Birthing unit or ward? Did you get a private room or stay on the ward? Any information greatly appreciated! I'm due in Dec and thinking of choosing one of these hospitals smile

Thank you so much!

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babybat Thu 12-May-16 11:29:40

I had DD in February at St Thomas's and overall I'd say it was a good experience. The sonography department was taking place in a research project while I was there, so instead of the usual scan at 12 weeks they were much more detailed and thorough.

I was induced at 42+2, started on the birthing unit which is really nice - it's a private room and they have birthing pools and a conservatory that you can walk around in early labour. The midwives in the birthing unit tend not to intervene too much in early labour unless you need it. Had access to gas & air, paracetamol and pethidine.

My waters broke but 7 hours later I was still only 3cm, so I was transferred from the birthing unit to the labour ward, which is on the same floor, so a very quick transfer. Still in a private room, had drip and epidural and continuous monitoring; I'd hoped for a low-intervention vaginal birth but as labour progressed it looked like an instrumental or section was more likely. I was explicit that I didn't consent to an instrumental and thankfully they agreed to a section. Transfer into theatre was also very quick, and the EMCS was actually a relatively calm experience.

On the negative side, the recovery ward and postnatal ward is shared. Six beds to a ward, partners can stay overnight in a reclining chair at your bedside. I was lucky, the other patients on the ward weren't too loud and everyone was fairly respectful of your privacy, but that's not everyone's experience. Staff were on the whole kind and helpful. Food was pretty average hospital fare, but there's an M&S so you can get snacks if you need them. We were discharged 48 hours later.

What made the biggest difference to my pregnancy and labour was that my community midwife team worked on a caseload basis, so I saw the same midwife and student midwife throughout my pregnancy, and they were able to attend the latter part of my labour. I'd suggest finding out what's available in terms of midwife care from your GP - will you see the same person, or will it be a different midwife each time, and will your midwife be able to attend your labour? It may be the case that your midwife is able to attend if you're at one of the hospitals, but not the other. Hope this helps!

Bear2014 Thu 12-May-16 11:45:12

I had DD at St Thomas's in 2014. I was there for AGES, I stayed on the antenatal ward for 10 days before she was born and then had a CS so stayed on the Postnatal Ward for 2 nights after delivery. We were then re-admitted when LO was 5 days old for jaundice and poor weight gain. She was in SCBU and I was housed in Postnatal.

Pros - it's a centre of clinical excellence so loads of great doctors. The senior consultant who did my CS was amazing and my scar is virtually invisible even though DD was over 9lb. SCBU and NICU are fantastic, should your LO run into any difficulties. As far as I know, the midwife-led unit is lovely (as above) although sadly I didn't get to use it.

Cons - the postnatal ward is not great. If you go in the midwife led unit you won't be subjected to it and will be discharged straight home, but if you're unfortunate enough to need more medical input you will end up here. It's one midwife to every 8 women and they are VERY slow to respond if you need them. I ended up holding my baby in my arms all night as I didn't trust them to come and hand her to me within the space of about half an hour. It was a scary first night as I was in quite a lot of pain and very disoriented, but you are very much left to your own devices for the 12 hours that partners are not allowed on the ward. I found most of the midwives to be stern, short and not too sympathetic. It's very busy with everyone's family traipsing in and out. Breastfeeding support was totally inadequate, which I partly blame for us being re-admitted later that week. Sharing a bathroom with 3 other women who had just given birth was unpleasant, but we did manage to support each other to an extent, in the absence of midwives or partners.

I think my experience was slightly extreme as I was in hospital over the Christmas and New Year period, and DD was born on 3/1. We were re-admitted on a Friday, and this was used as an excuse as why there was no feeding support over the weekend. I don't personally think this is good enough still, as babies come when they come!

If we have another baby I'll be going to Kings. Most of my friends either went to Tommy's or Kings and Kings comes out much more positively in that group of ladies. But looking at your choice of 2, you're probably a bit far from there.

Bear2014 Thu 12-May-16 11:47:02

Just seen that they now allow partners to stay overnight. That is a great step in the right direction.

cantbelieveImquittingcoffee Fri 13-May-16 05:32:38

I just had my LO at st Thomas' (came home on Sunday!) and had planned a natural birth in the midwife led unit but for various reasons ended up in the hospital birth unit instead. Once I was admitted to the birth unit the experience was generally a good one, but spending 3-4 hours in the day assessment unit beforehand (including 2 hours of contractions every 5mins in a corridor-waiting area when they forgot us) was horrendous, and I then went down a path of continuous monitoring that made the active birth I wanted v difficult. I didn't feel ninjas many choices during the labour and although our main 2 midwives (due to shift change we had 2) were v good there were various other doctors who would come in, look st me, proclaim something to the midwife ("she's filly dilated - give her an hour to descend then start the drip") without consulting me then waft out again. But I also echo what's been said about postnatal - we were moved a few hours after delivery to a "recovery room" (tiny shared room with 2 other mums) and then several hours later again moved to postnatal, in a shared room - most have 4 beds, ours had 3. Because of this moving about we had no real support on day 1 and I didn't really think about trying to breastfeed and think we lost some crucial time getting established in those first 12 hours, and when I needed help from the midwives I had 6 different people giving me advice which led to great confusion. Everyone is individually very nice but overstretched in postnatal so you don't get much support - though I have nothing to compare it to. As PP says partners can now stay overnight.
The view from the postnatal ward IS spectacular though!!

mumchristina Fri 13-May-16 12:50:05

Thanks so much for such detailed reviews ladies! I'm so grateful! Hope there's some Chelsea & Westminster mums too

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cantbelieveImquittingcoffee Fri 13-May-16 13:06:55

Just read my post back - ninjas? Filly dilated?? Written on my phone whilst feeding so yeah, sorry for silly typos! Am sure most hospitals are much of a muchness to be honest, I chose based on ease of location as we were 10mins from st Thomas by taxi which made a difference in labour. Good luck!

WordGetsAround Fri 13-May-16 13:10:23

I had a terrible experience there in 2010, so a while ago now. The attitude of nearly all the staff was terrible and downright rude. If I hadn't have had a great advocate (DH) with me, I'd have been stuffed Was so pleased to get out. Hopefully it's better now!

mumchristina Fri 13-May-16 14:33:07

Hi thanks so much for your response! Which hospital were you referring to? C&W or St Thomas?

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mumchristina Fri 13-May-16 14:33:35

Lol no worries! I got what you meant!

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plimsolls Fri 13-May-16 14:48:09

I've not given birth yet (will go to St Thomas') so I can't comment on that but I am really impressed with the antenatal care. As a PO explained, they operate on a case-led community service. In practice, this means I have the same midwife all the way through, all my appointments are at my home (even blood tests!) and hopefully I'll have 'my' midwife or another one I know from her team at the birth. My midwife also takes kind of personal responsibility for chasing up appts or tests, and feeding back results. That in itself is v reassuring. I have my midwife's mobile number for calls or texts. When she's off-shift, calls automatically go to a cover midwife. It's excellent.

My first 20 weeks were under a different hospital team and the antenatal care was crap in comparison.

I don't know what the antenatal care is at C&W but I'd say it's worth comparing that as well as actual birthing stuff.

Congrats, by the way smile

WordGetsAround Fri 13-May-16 20:17:10

Sorry - that was beyond useless of me! I was at St Thomas'. We chose it over our default one as we lived across the river from it. If you go St Thomas' you have to register the birth in Lambeth, which DH always jokes was a bit of a let down!!!

Peyia Sat 14-May-16 19:10:37

I gave birth in the MW led unit at Tommy's. I'm so grateful for my experience. The care, the privacy and the birth made it a very positive experience.

It's such a shame women are subjected to substandard care for what is the most important event in their life.

To be fair, I do think I was just very lucky. I arrived fully dilated in the morning, my understanding is my MW had just started her shift. There is a shortage so they work very long hours and I think that can affect the general care of women and newborns - so I was lucky but can not fault the care provided, the MW was excellent.

My H was also able to stay overnight in our room which was lovely. We would have been discharged same day but due to miscommunication we missed the consultant before their shift ended, not a major deal but another woman could have been using the room I was in - they are very limited at the MW unit.

mumchristina Tue 17-May-16 16:46:57

Thanks so much everyone! Seems like Tommys mums are very active on here and no C&W mums at all!

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minifingerz Tue 17-May-16 17:01:10

St Georges!

Half the rate of emergency caesarean of C&W and St Thomas's, with no impact on neonatal outcomes.

mumchristina Sun 29-May-16 12:30:09

Thanks minifingerz!

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