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NHS at Queen Charlotte, London..please let me know your experiences.

(24 Posts)
morningglory Mon 23-Jul-07 22:30:04

My NHS option is to give birth at the Queen Charlotte. I'm deciding between this or going private at the Lindo Wing. My first birth was very fast (didn't even make it to the Lindo Wing), with labour of 1 hour. I'm a 30 minute car ride from the Lindo Wing, do I'm pretty nervous. Also, as my first pregnancy was straightforward (home in 5 hours), I anticipate that this one will, hopefully, be similar. Anyways, I'd rather save the cost of a private delivery (we'd pay out-of-pocket) for more important things like, oh, school fees.

I am nervous about NHS due to all the bad press, but I hear that the Queen Charlotte is quite good. Can you please let me know what your experiences have been pre and postnatally here? Many thanks.

foxcub Mon 23-Jul-07 22:39:58

I'm really sorry to say this but I gave birth at QC in March and it was very traumatic.

I got kicked out of the Birth Centre becauise my labour wasn't "quick enough". They didn't even examine me and I was 7 cm dilated at that point. They tried to send me home but I asked to have my waters broken.

Went to clinical part where waters were broken. Whilst in transition I was made to walk through the corridors round to the other sied of the hospital, with water and blood gushing out (they decided that all aptients needed to change rooms all of a sudden). I was put in a broom cupboard with no equipment and they left the doors open so the builders outside in the corridor could see and hear everything. The aneasthetist went AWOL. My baby got stuck, etc etc etc

I didn't get to hold my baby for 2.5 hours while they faffed around, then they left me sitting in my own blood for 6 hours - although I was supposed to be under observation (risk of heamorraging) they didn't check me once.

It was a shocking nightmare which I am trying to forget but tonights Dispatches programme bought it all back to me. If I could afford it I would go private if I were you (never thought I would hear myself say that...)

Sorry for the rant, but you did ask

Millarkie Mon 23-Jul-07 22:41:55

I had dd at QC 3 yrs ago. Compared to my previous birth (another NHS hospital) QC was lovely. Very clean, meals delivered to the bed, post natal care seemed better (but then, I went home 6 hours post-birth).
Prenatal care was OK, the clinic was very crowded and at that time they only offered nuchal scans for mums over 37yrs old (I went private for that scan). Very good ultrasonography equipment though (again, compared to other NHS hospital, was comparable to the places I've had private scans).
They supported me in my decision to try to avoid a second c-section and the midwives certainly showed more skill than in my previous birth, manipulation of my position to turn the baby into a better position (other hospital went straight for a c-section in same circumstances).
The birth centre looks great (your dh can stay overnight with you in some rooms) - I wasn't allowed to use it due to previous section though.

itwasntme Mon 23-Jul-07 22:48:10

I had dd in QC birthing centre 3 years ago.

It was wonderful... I can't fault it except for the food, which was foul. They also had a lack of midwives, but by the time I got to the BC my labour was quite advanced so they found someone quick.

But it was clean, friendly and calm. And dh was allowed to stay overnight with me... I had my own room in the birthing centre - I stayed in the room I gave birth in.

Most people I know have had good experiences there, though I do know one girl whose birth was not great - she was upstairs in the delivery suite though.

dal21 Tue 24-Jul-07 08:17:57

morning glory - you can go private at QC too. Private patient care will have details; think it is the Stanley Clayton ward. That is where I am going and at 30 + 4 my antenatal care is nothing short of superb and my team are fantastic.

Mellin Tue 24-Jul-07 08:38:52

I had gave birth 9 months ago at Queen Charlotte and having nothing but good things to say about the experience. I was dreading it beforehand, given all the negative press about the NHS (we couldn't afford private), but it was fine.

We had a water birth in the birthing centre and had 2 midwives for the duration as it was very quiet at the time. I had my own room and my husband and my sister stayed overnight with me and the baby.

I left the next day so have no experiece of the wards.

I know quite a few people who have used both the labour ward and birthing centre and only one had a bad experience. Agree with Millarkie that prenatal clinic is always full and you often have to wait for ages.

morningglory Tue 24-Jul-07 16:47:04

Tough decision. Sounds like the wards, like most NHS hospitals, is a nightmare, but the birthing centre is fine.

Question is, if I anticipate not being on the wards and going home the same day, keeping in mind that I'll obviously have more waiting time at clinic visits, is it worth paying 8000 pounds to deliver a baby? I need to justify the costs to DH, who looked at my previous birth and tells me that it would be a waste of money to go privately.

lulumama Tue 24-Jul-07 16:54:13

have you considered a homebirth?

foxcub Tue 24-Jul-07 20:13:59

Morningglory - the average waiting time for each ante natal clinic is about 45 minutes.

The good thing about QC is that you can leave 6 hours after giving birth if there are no complications.

TNH what happened to me was nobody's "fault" - there was just a chronic lack of midwives. My midwife birthed the baby, said "I'll be back in 5 minutes to check you" but came back 6 houts later very stressed. She was very skilled though, when my baby got stuck and remained supremely calm in the NHS chaos which surrounded her.

I've given birth at Kingston, West Mid and QC and QC was by far the worst - but I think its symptomatic of the lack of midwives, rather than that hospital being particularly bad. I really noticed how the service has deteriorated since I first gave birth 7 years ago.

West Middlesex were wonderful though

foxcub Tue 24-Jul-07 20:14:56

Excuse typos - typing fast before baby needs me

deweydell Tue 24-Jul-07 20:24:14

I had my baby at QC Birth Centre Summer 06 and it was brilliant. I was hugely sceptical about natural birth but the mid wives gave me confidence. I left six hours after DD was born. I highly recommend. I'd spend the money on a maternity nurse instead.

morningglory Tue 24-Jul-07 22:13:22

May not have a choice about homebirth, as labour with first child was 1 hour, didn't make it to the hospital I was booked into, and delivered the head an way from cab to A&E.

However, DH is incredibly squeamish (fainted when person in A&E offered to let him cut the cord). I'd also be more comfortable in a hospital, and would prefer to deliver in a medical setting, just in case something goes wrong with myself or baby. I do have plan b, which is having my father (an obstetrician in the States) come several weeks early...just in case.

If the difference in cost half of what it is, I dont' think I'd hesitate. Just can't really justify spending that amount of money when my body is such an efficient birthing machine.

BunnyBaby Wed 25-Jul-07 09:13:57

Have heard from a midwife friend that they have staffing issues at the moment.

Mellin Wed 25-Jul-07 09:36:00

If your second is as quick as the first and you intend to go home quickly, I don't see going private and forking out all that money as any great benefit to you. Sure you will have to wait for clinic appointments, but I'm sure you have to wait for private ante natal appointments too!

I agree with deweydell, spend some of the cash on a maternity nurse or doula to attend the birth(especially if dh is squeamish). And to help out in the first weeks. If I had the money that's what I would have spent it on.

foxcub Wed 25-Jul-07 12:49:48

Bunny - when I was in there were staffing issues too - a lot of staff were off with gastric flu.

One thing I'll say for QC is they had zero MRSA etc when I was there - they are extremely strick about cleanliness, which is very reasurring.

eleusis Wed 25-Jul-07 12:58:42

QC is fab. I would go there for sure.

dal21 Wed 25-Jul-07 13:02:08

I have never have to wait for private appts. My obs and mw have never been late(touchwood )or quite amazingly never had to rearrange appts on me. No queuing anywhere else for blood tests/ injections either.
But I have to say - if this was my second and my first birth had been as fantastic as your first one sounds, doubt that I would pay for it again. We decided to go for it for peace of mind during this first pregnancy.

eleusis Wed 25-Jul-07 13:06:02

Jesus, Foxy. That is nothing like my experience. Perhaps the medical team for planned sections are very diffrent from the midwife team. Yikes!

What really shocks is that QC is one of the best maernity hospitals in the country (if not the best). So if this is what goes on there, WTF are the others like?

For anyone planning a section I really do think QC are fantastic for sections.

itwasntme Wed 25-Jul-07 13:15:33

There's no way I'd part with £8,000, especially if you cann give birth naturally in the QC birthing centre, which I reiterate is just lovely.

As I said before, the only thing that needed improvement was the food.

Sam100 Wed 25-Jul-07 13:24:19

I have had 2 babies at QC and 1 down in Surrey (dd1 Jan 02 and dd2 Aug 03). DD1 was in the Delivery Suite (was in delivery for 20 hours) and DD2 in the birthing pool in the Birth Centre. The hospital facilities are superb (always v clean) and the staff work very hard under pressure of volume of mums coming through the door. The clinics can be busy but sometimes you are in and out very quickly. Had an epidural for DD1 and the team sorted that out very quickly.

When I had dd2 if you were planning a birth in the Birth Centre you could have your later ante natal check ups with the midwives in the Birth centre, don't know if they still offer this facility.

If you give birth in the Birth Centre then the rooms are large with en-suite bathroom. The bed converts to double and if you are staying over-night then your partner can stay too. They used to do regular tours on a Sunday afternoon - so you can have a look around.

QC also used to have a fantastic breast feeding counsellor. Although I had bf first baby fine I had terrible problems with No 2 and she helped us out.

The ultrasound team at QC seem much more thorough than those at the last hospital we went to for No 3. Each 20 week ultrasound for my first 2 was a good 15-20 minutes. For no 3 at a different hospital we were in and out of the room within less than 10 minutes. You can go privately for this bit of your antenatal care fairly easily and cheaply - would recommend the Fetal Medicine Centre in Harley Street www.fetalmedicine.com. We had our nuchal scan here for no 3 (£150) but they can do all your antenatal scans. These are then just put onto your NHS file instead of going to the NHS ultrasound department.

The care at QC really excels when something is not quite right. I had suspected pre-eclampsia at 36 weeks with no 1 and was whisked straight in for observation. Luckily it was not and everything proceeded as normal. Also, even though the clinics are busy, I never felt rushed during my appointments or during the birth of our children.

babybore Wed 25-Jul-07 13:25:36

I had an excellent delivery at QC but aftercare was crap. I'd go there for delivery and hire a private room for after the birth(think it's about £500/night).

I had an epidural and got it at the exact time I needed it (when I was being sick after every contraction...) and top-ups whenever I needed them too. Even though my room overlooked wormwood scrubs (!), it was spacious with nice clean bathroom and everyhting felt quite peaceful.

Also the man who did my stitches after said he was the best in the country at doing this! Maybe they all say that but I had no problems whatsoever going to the loo and they healed really fast.

amidaiwish Wed 25-Jul-07 14:17:45

i was born in queen charlotte's 34 years ago and i am great

sorry, not helpful i know. bit bored today.

glittercaz Wed 25-Jul-07 14:46:47

Shocked and surprised to hear of your negative experience at QC's, Foxy - everyone I know who has given birth there has only ever had positive things to say about it. I'm due on Friday (!) and planning to give birth in the birth centre, and so far my antenatal care has been fine.

I once went into UCH near my workplace as I got panicked about not feeling the baby move much one day, and the difference the standard of facilities as well as the attitude of the midwives really illustrated to me just how great QC's is. (This is just my experience though, I'm sure that many people on here had good experiences at UCH). Generally though, I know QC's is considered to be among the best in the country - my GP said 'best in Europe'. They deal with a lot of high risk pregnancies and multiple births, so the consultants tend to be top notch.

Personally, I wouldn't bother paying to go private at QC's - if you're in the birthing centre you have a private room anyway, and if you are in the delivery suite to give birth you can book a private 'amenity' room for about £150 (I think) if there are any free...

morningglory Wed 25-Jul-07 18:50:42

OK. I think that I will go with my gut feeling and stick with the QC. Now, just have to break the news to my private obs (not that he'll suffer).

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