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Private birth - how does it work?

(16 Posts)
Nancy66 Fri 28-Aug-09 12:55:06

If you decide to have your baby privately does that mean that all your maternity care in the lead up to the birth has to also be private?

Is it possible to have NHS care all the way through but opt for a private birth?

OP’s posts: |
ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Fri 28-Aug-09 13:05:49

Do you mean an Independant MW? Or a birth in a private hospital?

Nancy66 Fri 28-Aug-09 13:10:01

I meant a birth in a private hospital or a private wing of an NHS.

OP’s posts: |
ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Fri 28-Aug-09 13:35:36

Sorry, I don't know.

I had an Ind MW but still had 2 scans and blood tests on the NHS. If I had had to have Obs involvement I still would have been able to have it free on the NHS.

I would guess you could still have a crossover but that would mean care from 2 different Obs I guess?

reikizen Fri 28-Aug-09 13:39:38

I would ring the hospital in question and find out.

kitstwins Fri 28-Aug-09 14:36:54

Obviously it depends on the hospital so it's always worth calling. The majority will offer two levels of private care i.e. midwife-led delivery or consultant-led delivery. The consultant-led delivery means that you get your own, personal consultant who will be present at the birth of your baby. Obviously this is more expensive than the midwife-led delivery as you have to pay the consultant fees. If you have to have a caesarean section with either midwife or consultant care then you'll have to pay the consultant fees (either your specific consultant or, if you're midwife led, the consultant on duty that day) as well as the aneathetist fees, etc. It can add an extra £3000 plus to your account. You also have to factor in the extra cost of extra days' stay following a section as the private care package usually only includes birth and night's stay. Extra nights can vary in cost from £400 up to £900, although you'd obviously need to check this with your hospital. Some might be more or less. All your antenatal checks and midwife care would be included in the price.

You could opt for NHS care and then try and switch to private care at the point of delivery but you'd have to check the hospital's policy on this and bear in mind that even if they did allow it (and I think most do) you wouldn't be guaranteed it; it would be dependent on space and availability. I certainly wouldn't take it as certain and I think to turn up and be told that, no, there wasn't space would be quite disappointing.

I had split care. I was originally going to opt for private care but discovered it was twins and was put off by the large bill quoted for that. And then I wasn't aware that the NHS hospital I selected had private care. However, I had a month's stay in hospital before my babies were born (due to preavia) and so I switched over to private care. I kept the same consultant and he did my section and then, post-birth I went over to the private ward. It was money well-spent and worth every penny as the care made a huge difference.

Hope this helps and isn't too garbled.

Nancy66 Fri 28-Aug-09 15:29:58

thanks Kits that's very useful.

am actually enquiring on behalf of my sister in law. She had a particularly traumatic first birth on the NHS and this time wants to go for a private C section, but she wondered if she could have her ante natal appointments on the NHS and just have the birth privately to keep down cost.

The private hospital seemed to think she could but her GP is saying she cannot.

OP’s posts: |
QTPie Fri 28-Aug-09 15:36:49


We would you want NHS ante-natal care and private hospital birth? Cost or are you very happy with your current NHS ante-natal care and that happens to be closer to home? Or some of other reason?

I have booked into St John & St Elizabeth's hospital in London on a "shared care" package (you can either book on a "mid-wife care" package, a "shared care" package or with an obstetrician - the latter is not a package, you pay for everything "as and when" ).

The hospital is in St John's Wood London, but I live in Bath. It SHOULD be fine for the birth (inlaws have a house 200 yards from the hospital, so I plan to move their 4 weeks before due date) and I am travelling up to London, for the ante-natal appointments and scans, in the meantime. HOWEVER - when I booked in - they did say that they could share the ante-natal care with my local community mid-wife if I wanted (to save some of the travelling). However I didn't want this: the community mid-wives here seem very stretched, flistered, forgetful and I am not impressed with the care here.... To me, it is worth it to travel to London to get better care (once a month at the moment, once each couple of weeks later on, I should be staying in London by the time it reaches once a week...).

We plan (at the moment) to come back to Bath straight after the birth (although I will have 3/4 dauys in hospital first). So some of my post-natal care would be with the local mid-wives here. Apparently it is straightforward for than post-natal care to be transfered back to Bath. But we will see - depends how long I stay in hospital and how I feel at the time (I could stay in London for another week).

So I would imagine that most hospitals can be "flexible". I don't know whether they will reduce the "package" price for you though (because it is a package), but you could ask...

Certainly some private hospitals "book up" (the hospital I am going to only has capacity for 40 births a month - so does get booked out). You may get a reduced rate "booking late", but you may not be able to book in at all (I booked in at about 15 weeks and was told that they were "filling up" for Jan/Feb due dates...).

You might have more luck with the NHS hospitals with private wings (St Thomas's, C&W etc)... I don't know how their private care works: the mid-wife led packages may well be "NHS ante-natal and delivery", but private ward afterwards (with private post-natal care)... But if you are looking for a private delivery, that might not fit... Not sure, maybe someone who has used those hospitals can tell you...

The cheapest option is to go NHS (ante-natal and delivery), then pay for a private room afterwards. BUT you can NEVER guarantee that a private room will be available for use when you need it (and the delivery, post-natal care, food etc will all be standard NHS).

So what exactly are you looking for and why?


QTPie Fri 28-Aug-09 15:49:02

Sorry, you posted your reply whilst I was typing my LONG reply...

I think that really, with a CS, you would WANT some private antenatal care - you would want to get to know your obstetrician and for him to know you, wouldn't you? You are going to need SOME private antenatal care - can't just roll up at a private hospital and expect them to cut the baby out... (need some monitoring and pre-natal checks etc...).

Saying that some hospitals WILL take women quite late for CSs - about 30+/32 weeks possibly). Since the need for a CS (in some women) is not diagnosed until later in pregnancy. But a CS will always be more expensive than a regular birth... You are probably looking at somewhere like The Portland (they are a private hospital and do a LOT of elective CSs). Suggest that your SIL gives them a ring and talks things through. Maybe goes for a tour.

With a CS, you are going to need probably at least 3/4 days stay in hospital. I doubt that you can expect much change from about £12k+ for an elective CS... and the actual antenatal care will be a very small proportion of that....

I hear that SOME NHS hospitals will support elective CSs, but have no experience myself. Would that be an option? Or is post-natal care also a big issue?

How far along is your SIL? Where does she live? If it is in London, then she might have more options (I knwo that in my area, they would laugh at me if I even mentioned electrive CS...).


Nancy66 Fri 28-Aug-09 16:18:56

SIL is in sussex nr Brighton.

She was hoping that she could have all her ante natal appointments locally (NHS) and then just come to London for a scheduled C section birth on a set day and then recover for a few days with private care.

The main reason she wants to go privately is because she knows she will need a C section and she can't bear the thought of 3 or 4 days on an NHS ward after her last experience.

she has a 15 month old son and it would be very hard for her to get to london every few weeks for her check ups.

OP’s posts: |
QTPie Fri 28-Aug-09 16:26:02

I think that she will have to start calling hospitals... you didn't say how far along she is...

As I said above, certainly some private hospitals are willing to share ante-natal care with local midwives, but it will be trickier - I think with an elective CS - I think that they will want the obstetrician to check her out a few times... But the only way to find out is to ask.

Line ANY "elective" operation, the surgeon generally likes to see the patient before the operation and, for peace of mind, the patient normally wants to see the surgeon...

Does she have local support (family/friends) who can care for her son whilst she has antenatal care? I would imagine that it would be fairly straightforward to get into London (by train?) from Brighton?

So get her to start phoning around.


SympatheticConsultant Fri 28-Aug-09 16:43:06

Hi Nancy66,
Although not ideal in terms of continuity of care having NHs antenatal care and then switching for a private El CS is not uncommon in the private sector. I have had a number of women who have transferred over to the private sector with medical insurance cover, just to have their El.CS (eg.For Breech presentation). As a minimum you will need to allow for 1-2 antenatal consultations, the CS and ideally a 6 week postnatal visit to see your Consultant.

To give you an approximate idea on costs there are 4 main areas:
Consultant Obstetrician Fees
Booking Consultation : £175
CSection Consultant's Fee : £1000-£1500 (this also covers all your in-pt visits and any immediate post-op reviews you may require)
PN visit : £150

2). In addition to this the Hospital will have their own charges:
Eg. 2009 Portland charges for a standard room for a medically indicated CS:

1st 24hrs (inc. day of CS) £5085
(Non-med CS £6255)
Each additional night £1175
(on average allow for 2/occ.l 3 additional nights post-op following the night of the CS)

3).Consultant Anaesthetic charges ~ £750

4). Consultant Paediatrician charges ~ £250

Nb. Also be aware that most insurance companies do not cover the entire costs of a private birth!!

Hope that helps!!

onemoretimetoday Fri 28-Aug-09 21:39:20

I am having NHS ante natal care and a private delivery at Watford General. The consultant I am using offers 3 options which are excellent value IMO for private care. I am going for private delivery only which means that I will have NHS ante natal but will have 2 appointments with the consultant prior to delivery. He and his dedicated midwife will deliver the baby and I'll then transfer to the newly refurbished private post natal ward.

The costs are

Consultant fees: £3000 regardless of whether it's a natural delivery or a C/S. This includes the 6 week check

Consultant ante natal fees £200 x 2

Epidural £350 - 500

Room fees: £2600 for 4 nights, £1600 for 2 nights

The baby is checked over by an NHS paed but you can pay for a private check if you prefer at £175.

All in all, given I have had natural deliveries in the past I expect it to cost about £5k, and I plan to stay in hospital for 2 nights to recover adn BF in peace even with an easy delivery which is good value for private delivery and buys me the guarantee that I will have a dedicated midwife delivering me with consultant backup.

Nancy66 Sat 29-Aug-09 09:18:07

Thanks very much for the info ladies - I will pass it on.

Onemoretime - that sounds exactly the package she is looking for I'll suggest she adds Watford to her list.

OP’s posts: |
Cauterize Thu 02-Jul-20 17:47:42


Bells3032 Thu 02-Jul-20 21:49:04

Haha you realise this thread it from 2009?

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