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Carmen suite at St Georges

(10 Posts)
Ninni Sat 01-Aug-09 09:06:27

Has anyone given birth here, or knows anything about it? Would you recommend it, is i good, nice?

FlyingDuck Sat 01-Aug-09 09:44:11

This is what I'm intending for my baby's birth too, but it is hard to find people reporting having used it. I have my ante natal care at the hospital itself, and my midwife told me that they only have about 35 women a month using it - I thought she must be mistaken on the stats, but the hospital newsletter for March this year has a similar figure (450 babies in the first 12 months of it being open). At that rate, you would pretty much end up having the whole Suite to yourself for your labour!

One thing I read that bothered me a little about the Suite was that in its early months, they had to close it if there were staff shortages; therefore women who were booked in had to go to the consultant led unit (which is only on the opposite side of the corridor, but will have a different approach) instead. My DP and I are intending to go and have a proper look around during one of the tours soon, as we're heading towards the 5 months stage and need to get a bit organised. Have you been for a look yourself?

Ninni Sat 01-Aug-09 12:01:40

No I haven't seen it at all, Im curious, but Im only 3 months so far. It only completed about a month after my second son's birth and I think it sounds fab. I don't think you have anything to loose by being there, as far as I understand, it's much nicer and should you need some proper drugs or there is complications, you only have to go across the ward! Both my previous kids are born at St Georges which was fine but I would definiteley prefer the birth centre.

Would be disappointing if there is no staff when you need it! I would like to double check that. I am amazed that it's not used more - I thought it would be difficult to get in! Let me know what you think when you have been. I wil go along a little later.

MiaMamma Mon 03-Aug-09 11:24:42

I planned to have my second baby in carmen suite but unfortunately couldn't, I had to be induced. But I was sent there after having the baby as the postnatal ward was full. Midwives there were really lovely and I'm still bit sad I couldn't have my baby there. Sorry, not much experience here with carmen suite but one day and night I spent there I found it more relaxing and it was less busy then being in normal postnatal ward (had first baby at st george's too). Hopefully someone comes along with 'real' carmen suite experiencesmile

SassJ Mon 03-Aug-09 13:12:19

I'm planning on having my first in there (due Oct 12th), and am really hoping the staff shortage rumour isn't true - am sure it isn't because it's been open ages now. My midwives haven't mentioned any potential problems, and seem very supportive of the whole 'natural' approach which is great. My husband and I are doing the tour in two weeks - just before our 34 week appointment (midwife suggested that we take a look around that time rather than earlier - no idea why). I'll take a note of this thread and post comments after our visit, and all being well, again following our fabulous, water birth experience in 8 - 10 weeks!

Ninni Tue 04-Aug-09 08:20:58

SassJ, that would eb great if you could let us know afterwards! Good luck!

FlyingDuck Wed 05-Aug-09 18:34:45

SassJ I wouldn't worry too much about the temporary closures of the Carmen Suite. It was more than a rumour; I read it in some report thing published by the NHS about progress at the hospital, but I can't find it now (it'll be somewhere in the downloads on my computer, along with a million other things...), but that was a report on its opening months, and so the situation will hopefully have been sorted out long ago. I just thought I'd share the report's findings so we can be prepared for all eventualities (teeny tiny as they are).

I hope the tour goes well! And the birth for that matter... It will be great to hear from someone who has used it.

FlyingDuck Wed 05-Aug-09 18:42:49

Oh, I found it. It was in a report called Wandsworth Primary Care Trust Five Year Maternity Services Strategy 2008 (I know, I am such a geek, but I really like to read as much as I can about this stuff).

It said about St G's, "due to poor data collection no data on activity. It has a recently opened separate midwifery-led area (the CARMEN Suite) within the department. However, due to shortages of midwives and other operational issues this is not open all the time". But that was published in July 2008, so it really isn't going to be a problem now. So rest easy! I can't wait to go and have a proper look too.

ready2pop Thu 06-Aug-09 11:09:06

The Carmen Suite opened just before I had my DS and I was due to go there. In the end I was induced in a hurry so couldn't but I do remember at the time that there were problems with too many people wanting to go there and too few places. I found the normal labour ward fab though and the mw couldn't have been better. To bhe honest I don;t think I'd have noticed if I'd been in the car park though everything happened so quickly wink

I'm 36 weeks now and booked into St George's again. I suspect I may have an emergency birth again but if not I'd like to try for Carmen.

Worryingly, I was at the hospital the other day for monitoring in the day assessment unit and it was choc full of women in early labour. Apparently both Carmen and the labour ward were full so they couldn't find them beds... quite a few were being sent home or off to other hospitals.

Hopefully, this was just a one off and lots of ladies coincidentally went into labour at exactly the same time...but it does show that where you end up depends very much on how many others are labouring and what the staff situation is so I'd try and keep an open mind.

FlyingDuck Thu 06-Aug-09 12:21:05

Oh no! All maternity tours at St George's have been cancelled as of 1st August 09 until further notice due to the swine flu business, according to their website. Not that I have any choice over hospitals, but it's a shame not to be able to check it out. Hopefully it won't be closed to prospective parents for too long.

That's interesting, ready2pop, that the Carmen Suite was packed out when you delivered DS. Also the situation in the Day Assessment Unit is a bit worrying; I'm being scanned at FMU tomorrow, so I might saunter passed as they're both on the 4th floor. I've never considered that one might even be shipped off to another hospital if things were too busy at St G's, but it's worth knowing that it does happen, as that really would be an unsettling surprise.

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