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St Georges or Chelsea & West?

(21 Posts)
BinkyB Mon 11-Aug-08 12:24:53

My GP has told me they are my options, I've one week to decide because of my dates etc. Feeling incredibly helpless about this decision as I don't have any information to base it on. As it's my first it feels a massive decision as I'm sure you can understand!

I don't have friends with babies that I can ask so I've signed up here and hope some other new mums can help me... If anyone can spare the time to let me know how they arrived at their decision for either of these two, and if you are still happy with that decision, I'd be really grateful.
Thank you.

smallwhitecat Mon 11-Aug-08 12:29:18

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orangina Mon 11-Aug-08 12:34:56

God, do you have to go to either? What about St Marys Paddington? Would take it over either St GEorges or C&W any day....

With pg #1, I wanted to be referred to queen Charlottes (another good choice by the way, don't know if you are near enough to qualify...), and although I hoped my referral was early enough, my GP cocked up and the referral never got there. So I was faced with C&W, which I felt slightly hysterically that I didn't want to go to. So I had a look at St Marys, which was fine, and I had dd there in the end. Fine labour ward, not too many short term contract midwives, excellent SCBU (which we needed in the end).

Have not heard great things about St GEorges. smallwhitecat obviously had a good home birth out of there, but I know a home birth isn't for everyone.

What about St Thomas's? It's suppoed to be good? Have had a few friends have their dc there w no complaints....

slinkiemalinki Mon 11-Aug-08 12:44:07

I have three friends who have recently been very happy with C&W, another v happy with Mary's community scheme (but she was only inthe hospital for 7 hrs). All but one were second babies.
C&W gets a bit of a bad press on here but in RL the stories I hear are pretty good, although there are criticisms postnatally.
St George's I have heard two awful stories from good friends (both pregnant again, neither going back) and another girl I don't know well enough to ask why has opted for Tommy's second time round instead of George's again.
Hope you don't mind second hand info but thought it may be of some use.

smallwhitecat Mon 11-Aug-08 12:44:29

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orangina Mon 11-Aug-08 13:09:39

Of all my friends who had their babies at C&W on the NHS, NONE of them were happy. Hence my hysteria about it. Would say if you are being steered towards C&W or Georges, try Tommys....

BinkyB Mon 11-Aug-08 13:14:53

St Thomas' is full already. presumably I'd have to have booked in pre-conception

Home birth I would like, but where we live the walls are so thin I can hear my neighbours sneeze sometimes so I don't think it's fair - I'll probably want to let rip and have a good yell!

Thanks so much for info and very speedy replies - this site is full of amazing ladies.

Keep em coming, so far am feeling like I'm between a rock and a (dirty, understaffed) hard place...

orangina Mon 11-Aug-08 13:36:22

St Marys took me at about 14 weeks..... how far gone are you?

smallwhitecat Mon 11-Aug-08 13:38:56

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TheDevilWearsPrimark Mon 11-Aug-08 13:42:28

This site may be helpful?

Tinasan Mon 11-Aug-08 13:55:32

St George's is fine - I had excellent care ante-natally and during labour, and am going back again for my second. Post natal care is rubbish - but you will find that's true of any London hospital, they just don't have the resources (although I think St G's has just opened a new ward and a new midwife-led unit so may well have improved a lot from 2 years ago).

TBH you will hear good and bad stories about ALL of the London hospitals. I'd pick whichever was easiest for you to get to between the 2 (that's why I picked St G's over Charlottes again, easier for me to jump on the tube for check-ups, don't want to be on and off buses with a toddler when I'm 8 months pregnant).

Make sure you are well-informed about the standard of care you should receive (and are vocal about it if you feel it's not up to scratch) and you will be fine! Good luck!

Tittybangbang Mon 11-Aug-08 15:05:34

I think C&W has a c-section rate of over 30% (check on birthchoiceuk) compared to a c-section rate of 24.5% at St Georges. That statistic on its own would make me stop and think. Mind you - I've been told they do lots of London's HIV c-sections at C&W, so maybe that accounts for part of their high rates. Also heard somewhere that 70% of first time mums at C&W have epidurals...... which could be a very good thing or a very bad thing, depending on what you want from your labour! (ie, if you don't want an epidural then going into a hospital where midwives perhaps are less tuned in to helping primips through longer, more challenging labours without the aid of pain relief).

YeahBut Mon 11-Aug-08 15:13:16

Had a bad experience at C&W with dd1. Friend had her baby there 2 years ago and the post-natal care was still woeful. Is there any way you could have a look round the units before you decide?

BinkyB Mon 11-Aug-08 15:43:06

I definitely want to have a look around, am trying to call them but they don't answer the phone - which says something about how both are understaffed London hospitals!
We're SW11 so I think both are equally easy to get to.
Will keep trying on the phone and if I get appointments, I'll put my impressions on here in case anyone else has the same 'choice' to make.

quickerthistimeplease Mon 11-Aug-08 21:56:58

Had DD a year ago at C&W. They were great. Was in for 6 nights and even the post natal care was fine. (and lots of nice places nearby to get food- v inportant if there for a while) May have been lucky as it was quite quiet and DD had a few problems- nothing major- so maybe they were a bit nicer to me. All my NCT group and lots of others I know had babies there. All very happy with care in labour. Post natally bit hit and miss but think that is the case everywhere in London. Personally I think the labour bit most important. There were 2 C-sections in my NCT group out of 7 (one because baby was breech). I was the only one who didn't have an epidural or C-S (but I was bloody shouting for one- it was just too late).
C&W gets a lot of bad press and I was really worried about going there but am going back there in Feb to have DC2. Hope to have a good experience then too.

quickerthistimeplease Mon 11-Aug-08 22:12:54

What I would say is wherever you choose, don't expect much on the post natal front and you can only be pleasantly surprised.

I've just been thinking again about DDs birth (probably because of being pregnant) and getting quite emotional thinking about all the lovely staff, particularly the midwife who delivered her (who stayed on way after her shift had ended and also came to say hello on the ward the next day) and one particularly nice one on the ward after. We also saw quite a lot of doctors as well and they were all great.

I think you would be too far from Mary's or Q Charlottes? I have friends who've had babies there and both good and bad things to say about both of them. (and a friend who had a home birth from St Georges- good experience).

JFly Mon 11-Aug-08 22:47:23

I struggled with this choice for the March '08 birth of my first baby as I'd heard bad things about both. I initially chose C&W without going for tour of either. I researched both and checked out birthchoiceUK website and figured it was much of muchness. My only experience of St G's was a miscarriage last year, and I really didn't want to go back there for my labour. Mostly down to emotional associations of that time. It also reminded me of "ER" (the TV show), but with worse lighting.wink

Ended up going on the tour of C&W and thinking, well, it's a hospital. Not plush or fancy, and the L&D ward kind of grim as most wards are. I was a bit apprehensive, but figured it'd be OK.

But during NCT classes (with most of others going to St G's) I panicked and thought I should just look at St G's new birthing suite just to make sure. The facilities there didn't impress and I decided I'd stick with C&W, figuring the staff are the most important factor and you can't really get a sense of that on a tour.

In the end, the care at C&W was very good. I had an excellent team of midwives (one student/one senior) and surgical team (placental abruption followed by emerg c-s with a spinal b/c no time for epidural). C-S rates are higher at C&W, but out of 6 NCT ladies, 3 were c-s and 2 of those were at St G's. The surgeons at C&W saved my life, so I'm pretty pleased with the results. Baby was in NICU for monitoring for about 24 hrs and the staff there were good, too.

Post natal ward...pretty grim. I was in for 2 nights and couldn't wait to get out. And I was in my own room!!! I've heard that of both hospitals, though, and imagine that if you have a straightforward birth, you'll be hot-footing it out of hospital as quickly as possible. My NCT friends who went to St G's said they liked their L&D midwives but post-natal staff were pretty rubbish.

I really think it's down to the people you get on the day that make the experience. If you are concerned about the care you get, I'd consider a doula. I had one and it made the experience much less scary and I liked the continuity of care. Sorry so long! HTH

heron22 Tue 12-Aug-08 13:03:19

hi, is it an option to go private? they are much much better and you are looked after really well.

orangina Tue 12-Aug-08 14:18:29

Eye wateringly expensive though heron22....

heron22 Tue 12-Aug-08 15:10:41

hi orangina, it is shockingly expensive i agree. but there is not much choice is there?

quickerthistimeplease Tue 12-Aug-08 16:22:30

I don't know that private is necessarily much better, particularly if things go wrong in labour. Admittedly you get a nice room with OK food and more post natal care but in an emergency the staff are there for you, NHS or private. I've just been to see a consultant at C&W about DC2 on the NHS because DD1 was early- would have cost me £100s to see him privately. I have many many doctor friends in London and only one of them chose to go private and that was because it was covered by her husbands insurance. My DH asked if I wanted to go private for this pregancy as we are lucky that we could afford if ness (not money to burn though) but I was happy last time on the NHS so don't see the point. With my fisrt pg he had a colleague go on and on about the fact that childbirth was so dangerous and I really should go private for all our safety. It really put the fear of god into him but I managed to calm him down. (This man also said I should have an elective C-S). In the end DH (who is hard to please) was very happy with all our treatment as well.

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