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Having baby at hospital outside your NHS "area" - possible?

(42 Posts)
Hadeda Wed 06-Aug-08 20:32:42

I had my DD at St George's in London earlier this year. A friend of mine who lives 2 streets away from me is pregnant and wants to go there too. However, she's been told by the GP surgery that she can't go there as its outside our area. She has a choice between 2 other hospitals - at one the maternity unit is being closed down and the other isn't great, a few friends have had their babies there and no one has had a good experience. If she chooses the one being closed there is a chance she will be compulsorily transferred to the nasty one at some point during her pregnancy.

It seems odd I could go to St G. when, under the same circumstances, she is told no. Plus she really has no confidence in the two hospitals she is able to go to.

The GP surgery has to send in the booking form to the hosp and they are refusing to send it to St G. The booking secretary at the GP is scaring my friend - told her that due to her "leaving it so late" she would not get a 12 week scan - so my friend is thinking of just going with the unit that is closing and hoping it doesn't transfer her. (She is 11 weeks pg now, but has been passed around a number of early preg unit appointments since about 6 weeks, last Fri was the first time anyone spoke to her about actually booking in.)

Do you have any right to ask/request/demand that the GP applies to the hospital of your choice?
Or do you have any right choose the hospital you give birth in?

I'm sure I read something about this recently - but not sure if it was just a "we would like to" policy or an actual patient right.

Does anyone know? It's her first baby and I know she's feeling a bit scared by the whole hospital thing (she doesn't like hospitals anyway).

Hulababy Wed 06-Aug-08 20:35:52

Yes you can choose your own hospital.

I had DD at a hospital of my choosing. It was not the one that most patients at my doctors go to. I opted for one near to DH's work and the hopital I felt most confident about. It wasn;t a problem.

I think your friend needs some proper advise. I am sure their are NHS policies on this.

thisisyesterday Wed 06-Aug-08 20:38:41

yes, she can choose whichever hospital she wants

thisisyesterday Wed 06-Aug-08 20:38:58

or she could always go for a homebirth, if she doesn't want like hospitals

MuffinMclay Wed 06-Aug-08 20:41:02

I've done so twice. The first time it was the GP's idea. I'd had years of gynae treatment at an out of area hospital and would be able to continue my maternity care under the supervsion of the same consultant.

The second time (different GP, had moved house) I asked to go back to the same hospital (still out of area) and the GP agreed, no questions asked.

I thought they had to offer you a choice of hospitals these days, but may have got that wrong.

Could she see a different GP, one who is a bit more sympathetic?

elkiedee Wed 06-Aug-08 20:47:06

I thought GPs were meant to tell you about your choice of hospitals. I'm in North London and was very clear I wanted the hospital which is easy to get to from home and work (the Whittington) rather than the one that's nearest (North Midd) but involves two buses from home and a bus from the tube station if going from work. But the GP had quite a list of possible places, and people from this borough also go to UCLH and sometimes the Royal Free.

orangehead Wed 06-Aug-08 20:49:38

Yes you can choose your own hospital. I suffered 3 mcs and the hospital I was under was very good so I wanted to be under them for my next pregancy. However I moved out of the area, but only ten minutes up the motorway. When I got pregant again my gp refused to refer me to the original hospital saying it wasnt allowed despite me explaining the circumstances. I rang the consultants secretary in tears and explained. She told me what the gp had said was rubbish and it was only because it cost them more money to refer out of the area. She told me to ring the gp and say I know my rights and I have the right to be referred to which ever hospital I want so please refer me to ------. I did this and he referred me with out a problem. Hope she gets sorted

elkiedee Wed 06-Aug-08 20:51:13

Apparently if you live in London you can contact a midwifery service direct:

It's got to at least be worth a try her contacting the St George's team.

AtheneNoctua Wed 06-Aug-08 21:10:35

Your friend should stand her ground. As soon as she accepts a booking somewhere the GP will no longer be obligated to find her a booking. I refused my local hospital (St.Peters) but I had to put up a pretty good strop. (Ironically DS bumped his head today and ended up there because I wasn't here to say "Over my dead body!")

frumpygrumpy Wed 06-Aug-08 21:13:41

I had a bad experience at my local hospital with DD1. When it came to my DTs I told my doctor the hospital I wanted to go to and why and she said fine. Said it might only be an issue if it came to a point where I needed an emergency ambulance ....... but if I needed that then ANY hospital would have done! I'm in Edinburgh.

And FWIW, I had excellent care and felt very, very happy. Which is what we are all aiming for when it comes to birth experiences.

STICK TO YOUR GUNS!!!! Fingers crossed for her xxx.

frumpygrumpy Wed 06-Aug-08 21:13:59

Change doctor?

hester Wed 06-Aug-08 21:20:33

My understanding is that you can request to go to whatever hospital you want, though if they are oversubscribed they may refuse you (and they will give preference to residents of their area).

What your friend's GP probably MEANT to say was, "this practice always refers to x hospital and we're not inclined to go out of her way to help you out, lady".

She should contact the Head of Midwifery at the hospital she wants to go to, and as soon as possible.

MiniMarmite Wed 06-Aug-08 22:12:25

You are absolutely allowed to choose where you give birth. I'm going out of catchment. This website is helpful for understanding your rights and for helping you choose where to give birth...

Good luck!

MrsMattie Wed 06-Aug-08 22:14:21

I'm way up in north London and am having my next baby at a central London hospital after a bad experience at my local hospital.

MiniMarmite Wed 06-Aug-08 22:15:05

Hi again Hadeda...just realised it's for a friend...

LadyOfWaffle Wed 06-Aug-08 22:22:50

I am having my baby out of area - our local unit is only MW led, and shut down for a time last year and if complications arise you have to go via ambulance to Wexham which is alot further than Frimley (my choice) and a big no no anyway for me. Sounds abit like they are fobbing you off, obviously we can't all go to the best places otherwise they would be overrun, but I think alot of people would have to do it for it to become a problem.

ReallyTired Wed 06-Aug-08 22:52:29

Even if she has her ante natal care under the hosptial she doesn't like, what is going to happen if you turn up to St Georges in strong labour. They are hardly going to send you home.

I was booked in give birth in Reading and my son was born in Hemel Hempstead. There was no sugggestion of us getting on the M25 and M4 to go to Reading.

TinkerBellesMum Wed 06-Aug-08 23:07:29

Get her to ask her GP to look on Choose and Book. You can go to any hospital anywhere on the system.

I'm sure the hospital would get her in for a booking scan as soon as they have her on their books, it doesn't really matter if it's later than 12 weeks, that's just the first time you can get a decent picture.

Also with C&B you are given a password which you call a number with and then you book the appointment yourself so it shouldn't take too long for her to get in with them.

Hadeda Wed 06-Aug-08 23:16:51

Thanks for all the replies. I'll have a look at the links too.
I will tell my friend to stand her ground. Perhaps if she speaks to the GP on this, rather than just the booking secretary, she'll get further. She has been to St G for the early pregnancy appointments so can explain to the GP why she wants to go there.

Cross your fingers for her!

notcitrus Thu 07-Aug-08 00:48:43

You certainly can go to StG if it's outside your area - I am! I live in Lambeth, StG is in Wandsworth, and my GP is in a separate PCT in Merton, but given my GPs and the receptionist all said 'don't go to Mayday' which would be the default, I'm going to StG.

Apparently the GP shouldn't have booked me in anyway, as once you know you're pregnant you can just phone the antenatal booking office at StG, which would have sped everything up.

1dilemma Thu 07-Aug-08 00:59:45

Hester is right however 12 weeks at Georges should be fine.
I guess she should go and see the most sympathetic GP and explain. Who has she been speaking to? Sounds like just the receptionist, I wouldn't go by just what they say without checking

Is it Epsom closing?
Good luck to your friend

stickybean Thu 07-Aug-08 06:30:05

She will probably be able to self refer, thats what i did. I just called the hospital after my GP messed things up a bit admin wise.

The only thing it meant for me was that i wasn't allowed to see the hospitals regular midwives (being all of 3 and a half seconds away from their area!) and i couldn't see the midwife at the GP surgery as she only sees ladies going to the local hospital!!!

So after a bit of tooing and froing i have had all my antenatal care (except for a few hospital appointments) with my GP himself. I have been extremely happy with this situation and feel i have got continuity of care and a lot of support.

I would go back to the GP or call the practice manager, sometimes people rely on you not knowing your rights but you absolutely are allowed to choose.

Good luck to your friend .

AtheneNoctua Thu 07-Aug-08 12:12:07

Oh is Epsom closing? I had DD there. They were ok. Not bad, but not Queen Charlotte either.

What about Kingston? Can she get in there?

Hadeda Thu 07-Aug-08 16:20:00

It is Epsom that's closing. Kingston was another option but it is evidently full already. I think you have to apply to Kingston the minute you see that blue line on the test in order to get in!

AtheneNoctua Thu 07-Aug-08 16:35:22

Kingston refuse anyone outside of their catchment. When I was refusing to go to St. Peters I applied to Kingston and they said they were full. I was 6 weeks pregnant. Do I believe them? No, I do not.

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