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Recent experiences of care and labour at UCLH(14 Posts)
I was was wondering if anyone had recent experiences of labour and care at UCLH? I’m 14 weeks pregnant with my first baby (due August) and I’m currently signed up to UCLH on the recommendation of my GP. However, the more Mums I speak to, the more poor experiences I hear. Please can anyone share their experience?
I had a great experience at UCLH in 2018 and am currently signed up there again and 20 weeks.
First birth had an amazing water birth, in the midwife led birth unit part, my child developed an infection afterwards and only because they monitored us closely it was picked up.
Second time, at my 12 week scan a few issues were picked up and I was immediately taken to fmu for another scan and to talk though all my options. In a very calm but factual way with a little handholding.
They are really busy (like all of the nhs) ans under pressure - however from 16 weeks I believe you can opt in to be taken care of midwifes (if that’s what you want) that work only the midwife led unit - so if you book the same day for your subsequent appointments (I think it might be Thursdays) - you can actually get continuity of care with the midwifes that you might come across.
Had my first there in 2018. I can't fault their care. It wasn't the best birth (forceps and ventouse) but that was due to baby getting trapped. They explained everything to me with great care. I got my epidural very quickly as well after requesting it. My first midwife was on the labour Ward was so calming. I feel very comfortable in her hands.
Only downside was the recovery ward. But again, that's not a fault of the hospital (bc I hear they're all the same), rather it was uncomfortable to be in curtain drawn areas with others around when all you want is to be at home.
It is a busy central London teaching hospital. So you need to keep that in mind.
Sorry for the grammatical errors lol. My phone autocorrected.
Medically-speaking UCLH was brilliant, and it's reassuring to know that in case of problems or complications you're in the right place. They have some fantastic consultants and specialist clinics.
I did not particularly like the midwife-led routine appointments: out of all the midwives I saw since the booking appointment (different one every time), two were really lovely, and the others were either unpleasant or incompetent or both. Having said that, it's possible to get appointments relatively quickly and easily.
The worst experience of the whole pregnancy was definitely the post-natal ward, which was horrible. I didn't mind that much being surrounded by loads of other people & their guests, in these neon-lit little cubicles (as a pp says, there is no other way of running it with the existing resources). But I really did mind having to have big arguments with cruel and careless midwives on staff. After one of them took my canula out I started to bleed (from my hand) really heavily, soaking the mattress and sheets and stuff - couldnt walk away to get help because I still had the catheter in - and she blamed me for not having pressed the plaster enough, and just walked away! No one came for ages. There were several other examples like that in my 24 hour stay post c section recently, where they basically can't or won't come when you need help, and I physically couldn't get to the baby in the night. It's almost certainly also a matter of under-resourcing, when too few of them have to work long shifts - but boy did we have to pay for it.
Overall I'd still go for UCLH because I doubt the problems are much better anywhere else.
I have had a good experience antenatally so far - the midwife at my booking appointment was absolutely lovely. I suspect it is one of the best hospitals to give birth in but as with everywhere understaffing in the postnatal ward will not be rosy.
How big are the wards? 4 bed bays? One bathroom per bay or communal ones outside the bays?
On the recovery ward? There were 6 beds per Bay. Each with a communal bathroom.
On the delivery ward each room had it's own private bathroom
Thank you @Minkies that's good to know (and prepare for!)
I agree with comments about the postnatal floor at UCH. I had my first there in 2016. Care during pregnancy and birth was fantastic but the PN ward was so horrendous I got myself moved to a private room when my second one was born. Care prior to and during birth of DC2 was also fantastic.
@user1471592953 - was it quite easy to get a private room? Do you just ask once you've gone in for labour/ELCS and hope one is available?
I am dreading the postnatal wards more than labour/ELCS itself as I know during the birth I would be in the best care. If I can't get a private room for postnatal I would much rather be home with DH and DSis to help rather than fending for myself or hoping/fighting for help on the wards.
@LillianFullStop they told me you can't reserve a private room, but can ask for one when you get in - it's allocated on a 'first come' basis. But be aware that they cost about £800 a night.
It also matters on which day of the week you're going in. I had a c section booked for a Tuesday, which is apparently the worst day for getting a private room, because that's the day when they have most of their private c sections scheduled.
@LillianFullStop - as mentioned above, you can’t reserve a private room. You just have to hope one is available if you ask for it. Price was about £800 a night but was worth it.
I had two great births on the midwife led unit in 2016 and 2019. The midwives were fantastic and I got a room with a birth pool as requested. I also ended up with a private room for free both times! I’m not quite sure why - they said they were very busy, so maybe the wards were full? We did have to wait quite a while to get moved into a room from the birthing room for DC2 as they were so busy, and had to wait until the next day for all the checks to be carried out (despite baby being born in morning) but that was fine.
I had quick and straightforward births, but also know a lot of other women who have had complications and been looked after very well. Most complaints I’ve heard have been about the postnatal ward, as above, but I think that is the case for any hospital.
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