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Giving birth - Addenbrookes vs Hinchinbrooke hospital?

(28 Posts)
JBrd Wed 22-Sep-10 17:48:34

Hi all,
I'm 1st time pregnant and will have to decide where I want to go for the birth - Addenbrookes or Hinchingbrooke hospital. Obvioulsy, I don't have any experience with the maternity units of either of them, so it would be very useful to get some 'insider' information about the pros and cons! So far, I can only go by friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend stories...and the official statistics don't tell you anything about how the women who gave birth feel! I know that Addenbrookes is a good hospital, but that the maternity unit can get very busy. On the other hand, Hinchinbrooke got some very bad press a while ago about hygiene standards etc. Any comments?

hildathebuilder Wed 22-Sep-10 17:58:44

I had mine in Addenbrookes, but I am a Cambridge resident. As it turned out I would not have been anywhere else as my DS needed nearly 8 weeks of intensive and special care. On that side of things, if heaven forbod anything were to go wrong Addenbrookes is wonderful and I have spent the last 6 months thanking my luckly stars it was our hospital and we were not anywhere else.

Despite the special care I am BF DS and the nurses and special care staff were immensely supportive of that throughout those 8 weeks, without them I doubt we'd have managed.

Now on all the ordinary stuff, I think it has many drawbacks. It does get full, and close - then you'd probably be sent to hinchingbrooke anyway. I recall it closing about once a fortnight when DS was in hospital, never for long but it did close. I have a friend who wanted an epidural but there was only space in the Midwife led unit so she couldn't have one. The food is terrible, the parking is expensive, the staff are often too busy, and so despite the fact i was an emotional wreck I ended up in hosptial for 4 days on two of which i did not manage to see the doctors about me, and often missed the drugs round. Admittedly I was in special care at the time but it wasn't ideal.

The wards are very full, and they can't separate the different knds of patients as they would like so there are a real mixture of c section ordinary deliveries, prem mums with no babies and antenatal babies all in the same place.

They can often have odd visiting restricitons due to infections, especially if its a winter baby.

But if I ever have another one I wouldn't be anywhere else, ever, as if you do have an emergency, and don't mind the medicalised environment the doctors are some fo the best in the world.

coolma Wed 22-Sep-10 18:49:53

Well I've had all three of mine in the Rosie and the differences have been quite remarkable each time - probably due to the spacing of them! dd1 was born there in 1990, she was IUGR and I was induced. She was born weighing just over 4lbs and had to stay in for three weeks - amazing;y, i stayed in with her on sara ward - a really brilliant experience, lovely unruched midwives, a terribly handsome registrar wink and a really nice feel to the whole experience...10 years on, I had ds in 2000, it was another emergency - woke up in the night bleeding so was rushed in, however that was quickly sorted out and he was born 8 hours later, excellent care with one midwife throughout, and I went home the next day - no rush to go and lots of advice and help..2005 dd2 born there and I really felt that I was on a conveyer belt - I was induced as she was three weeks late, three change of midwives, a very unpleasant doctor (female) and in the end, they all wanted to go home so got me into theatre for a ceasarean (which didn't happen as I demanded to be allowed to push and out she came!) The aftercare wasn't brilliant - maybe they thought as she was my third I didn't actually need any advice! I went home five hours later and I felt quite let down sad Addenbrookes is a fabulous place though - and I would recommend it for the sheer technical brilliance and calibre of treatment and staff - I guess my expereinces just reflect the changes in the nhs over 20 years.


LeninGrad Wed 22-Sep-10 19:19:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flowerybeanbag Wed 22-Sep-10 19:36:38

Can't emphasise enough how much of a horrific experience I had at Hinchingbrooke with DS1 and how much of a contrast it was to DS2's birth at the Rosie (Addenbrookes).

DS1's was a catalogue of mistakes, poor care, negligence, all sorts of different things involving lots of different medical professionals (ie not one person having a bad day).

At the Rosie the staff were all fantastic, care was second to none. Only drawback is getting there really - we live much nearer Hinchingbrooke and the A14 isn't funny at the best of times. But well worth the inconvenience in my view.

My experience was particularly horrendous but actually I don't know anyone who went to Hinchingbrooke who would say they had a good experience.

I'd also rather be close to the medical facilities at Addenbrookes as well. Due to one of the errors made at Hinchingbrooke they decided they wanted to do an MRI scan on me. However it was Sunday and the scan dept at H was shut. So it was wait til Monday or ship DS1 and I in an ambulance up the A14 to Addenbrookes.

So for me, Rosie every time.

fruitful Wed 22-Sep-10 19:41:57

As Hilda said, if anything goes wrong then Addenbrookes is the place to be. Although even then you can get turfed out because someone else is sicker than you (well, another baby needed the NICU space more than mine, we got posted over to the Lister).

Don't know much about Hinchingbrooke.

JBrd Wed 22-Sep-10 20:01:15

LeninGrad - I live in Cambourne, and the midwife told me that I can choose the hospital. Distance-wise, there's not much difference, I guess, but there is the fact that it sometimes can get ages to get to Addenbrookes, depending on the time of the day. And yes, if they are too full, I'd have to go to Hinchinbrooke in any case... Hmmm.

LeninGrad Wed 22-Sep-10 20:28:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thegrowlygus Thu 23-Sep-10 08:07:11

Had one of mine in the Rosie - didn't enjoy it much but that was probably because another woman in my bay was screaming all night (she had had a planned c section just like me, and there was nothing actually wrong with her) but that meant that I was totally ignored and had DS2 put in bed with me to feed, told basically that I had breast fed my first so I could just get on with things (despite the fact I could barely move after the section) and that DS1 had been in special care, and whilst I did breast feed him it was an uphill struggle! When I had DS1 I was in York and I had trained as a GP there, so everyone knew me, it was a complex pregnancy/birth and - well circumstances were much different. So I think the comparison probably isn't fair. The food was awful though - I made my husband bring up stuff from the costa coffee or whatever it is in the concourse on his way into work (he works at addie's too!)

From a GP perspective most of my antenatals go to Hinch, and have a fine time, I have heard a lot of good things about the maternity unit there and they have always been very helpful when I have had to contact them.

Similarly I haven't had any complaints about the Rosie from patients. And as others have said - in a complicated pregnancy/delivery it is the place to be.

Not very helpful. Sorry!!

LaCerbiatta Thu 23-Sep-10 12:09:10

I had two at the Rosie and was very happy with the care. Dd was a straightforward birth, no intervention, was only there for 6 hours total. With ds however I had a very difficult to detect placenta praevia, which meant I was bleeding and no one understood why, and doctors and mws were amazing, very competent and efficient. The only negative aspect was how busy the wards were, which meant I begged to be discharged so that I could get some rest!

EauRouge Thu 23-Sep-10 21:03:19

I had DD at the Rosie because I wanted to use the MWLU which ended up being closed on the night due to staff shortages. The staff were great, I have heard about the conveyor belt thing but I went home when DD was only a few hours old so I never experienced that. But yes, the food is crap grin

I live closer to Hinchingbrooke than Addenbrookes so if I end up in hospital with DC2 (planning for a homebirth) then that's where I'll go. Most of my friends had their DCs there and I've not heard any complaints. The mat unit has just been redone (a couple of years ago) and there is now a MW unit.

NoSleepTillWeaning Sat 25-Sep-10 14:52:53

Don't forget Cambridgeshire is very well supported for home births too!

hedgepig Sun 26-Sep-10 21:20:12

I've had both of mine DSs at the Rosie and they both had some complications but we got good support. As others have said if your DC needs some medical support after the birth then the Rosie is very good. They were also very supportive of the VBAC I had for DS2. No experience of Hinchinbrooke I'm afraid. I hope you have a good birth wherever you choose.

JBrd Sun 03-Oct-10 12:05:43

Thanks eveyone, that's very useful and helpful!

gizmo Sun 03-Oct-10 22:48:31

Hmmm, not sure if I should post this, as it might not come across terribly helpfully, but I did have a very bad time with the Rosie in May this year, with my 3rd child.

To cut a long story short, my waters went a month before my due date and I was admitted to the antenatal ward, where, despite it being my third child and the monitor they had me on showing clear signs of regular contractions, they refused to believe I was in established labour and transfer me to the delivery unit. They then asked my husband to leave because he had upset a member of staff in insisting (in a totally polite and non hostile manner) that there was a mistake, so I was left alone on the antenatal ward, in (very) full blown labour.

I am vocal in labour and was screaming pretty loudly as my husband was escorted off the ward, and the senior midwife was trying to persuade me not to yell, as it was upsetting the other women on the ward hmm. I had the great satisfaction of looking her in the eye at that point and saying 'I want to push'. DD was born 11 minutes later, with no resuscitaire available and crash buzzers ago-go.

I'm honestly not trying to scare you...despite everything it was the best place to be from a safety perspective: had there been a major problem they are very well equipped and excellent in emergencies. But I think you should be aware that if the are very full (which happens very often) then they can be a bit too stretched to provide detailed care and you need to have someone with you who can fight your corner.

gizmo Sun 03-Oct-10 22:49:38

More helpfully...I have heard nothing but positives about the Midwife led unit at Addenbrookes, so maybe that's a good option?

looplou Mon 04-Oct-10 11:59:42

I have experience of both. I gave birth to two extremely premature babies at the Rosie (6 and 9 years ago) and I have to say the care was shocking both times (postnatal was worst). However after the NICU both my babies spent time in the SCBU at Hinchingbrooke and are still regularly cared for there and I have nothing but the highest amount of praise for that hospital - quick, caring and most of all very humane.
I don't disagree that if something goes wrong then the Rosie is the place to be - but the subsequent trauma, parking, journey times for us was not positive.
My best advice is to have someone there that can speak up for you if you need it and are too tired/weak etc to do so yourself smile

JBrd Mon 04-Oct-10 14:18:47

Thanks for the info - I've decided to go for the Rosie now, but it's still good to know what possibly to expect. However, since I will be 39 by the time the baby comes, I think I'll feel more 'safe' knowing that if something does go wrong, the right people/equipment are there. And I have full confidence in my other half to speak up for me

glitterjo Mon 04-Oct-10 17:01:34

ooh this is interesting, I've had to make the same decision. Thought I'd add my experience (although I haven't had the baby yet - due in December) in case anyone else is trying to make up their minds.

We were nearer Hinchingbrooke when we first moved to the area, and I had a miscarriage just before Christmas. We were treated really well through a pretty horrible time and when I found I was pregnant again, even though we were just about to move to somewhere a bit nearer the Rosie, I wanted to stick with Hinchingbrooke.

We're actually just about smack in the middle of the two hospitals so my midwife said it was totally up to me, so I chose Hinchingbrooke.

This hasn't been a very easy pregnancy and every time I am at Hinchingbrooke I think I have made the right decision, as they are lovely and have been very competent and helpful.

I am also being seen at Addenbrookes because of a complication involving my eyes; it's pregnancy related but I am being seen at the eye clinic there. Every time I go there I panic about the traffic and the sheer size of the hospital and feel glad that I'm planning to give birth at Hinchingbrooke. However I haven't been in the Rosie so this is based on nothing but my experience of the main hospital.

HOWEVER - what I have found quite stressful is dealing with a GP surgery and community midwives who are actually attached to the Rosie and know nothing about my hospital. My GP surgery is pretty fantastic, I think, but even my brilliant GP had to get me to go and call Hinchingbrooke myself this morning about my developing SPD as she didn't know how the physio department worked there, whereas she'd have known exactly what to do if I was being cared for at the Rosie. I've had to transfer my own notes between Addenbrookes and Hinchingbrooke regarding my eye complication and I have to get all test results printed out at Hinchingbrooke to give to my GP as they don't go automatically to my doctor, and in reverse, if I have any tests at my GP I have to be careful to chase them up as they go to the Rosie automatically. Also, the Rosie and Hinchingbrooke use different maternity notes - the Rosie use a yellow set, Hinchingbrooke use green notes. It's astonishing how much trouble that caused at the start, and still sometimes does.

As I say, each time I'm at Hinchingbrooke I feel I've made the right decision, but the logistics of the thing can make me feel quite stressed and upset at times and I still waver about it every couple of days...just something to bear in mind.

hildathebuilder Mon 04-Oct-10 17:08:35

I would add if its a factor that the EPU at Addenbrookes, the Daphne ward, were wonderful with both my miscarriage/Cervical ectopic as well as the early scans I had with DS. The Fetal Assessment unit was less good with DS, although I was seen by them about 8 times noen of which were planned and they always always fitted me in, which was immensely reassuring.

Also although I cannot comment on how Hinchingbrooke treats age, 39 is compartively normal for some parts of Cambridge, and I was told at 36 I didn't even count as an older mum. As I have a friend who is over 45 and pregnant I am sure that's right!

lynniep Mon 04-Oct-10 17:13:01

I had both boys at Hinchingbrooke. Having never had the experience of anywhere else I can say in general that it was fine. Not fantastic. But fine.

First time round not brilliant in that the MW f*cked up and told me babys head was engaged when in fact he was breech (But she wasnt the only one so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that he was in a really misleading position) This resulted in breech birth that produced a very very sick baby. He was fine in the end, but it was touch and go for a few days ( plus the months afterwards waiting to see if he was brain damaged). The first night was pretty hellish too - they didnt have a private room available so I had to lie in a ward with crying babies having not seen mine and not knowing whether he was ok or not. They also wanted DH to leave but he refused point blank. DS1s SCBU care however was fantastic. And all the midwives, consultants etc were very sympathetic on their visits.

At the time the bathrooms were a bit grim frankly, although when I had DS2 they had updated the wards with new bathrooms on each - a lot better. They also have new 'low risk' labour rooms which are rather nice. Never got to use one though as I was high risk. I found most of the midwifes with DS2 very kind and helpful as were the rest of the hospital staff I was seen by, although all were incredibly busy.

Breakfast is a bit of a free for all - if you arent there on time ie asleep you miss it. I do like the food for lunch and dinner though - very disapointed to be discharged just before lunch!

runningmonkey Mon 04-Oct-10 17:26:30

Thanks for this. Am trying to make the same decision atm and finding it v hard.

JBrd Mon 04-Oct-10 22:02:39

Runningmonkey - I know what you mean! But I'm starting to think that everyone will just have to have their own experience in the end, which no one can predict...

EauRouge Wed 06-Oct-10 17:38:04

Runningmonkey- I just read in the local rag that the mat unit refurbishment at Hinchingbrooke won't be finished until February. The MLBU is finished AFAIK, and is quite new. Hope that helps a bit with your decision.

runningmonkey Wed 06-Oct-10 18:46:16

JBrd - yes ikwym. Its sucha personal thing. I'm currently leaning towards Hinchingbrooke as I had a traumatic time with DD at the Rosie and am feeling that a change of scenery might make me more relaxed. also if I am allowed a homebirth it would mean my MW would accompany me through any hospital transfer which wouldn't if I was booked into the Rosie. I should add that although I had a traumatic time with DD, it wasn't down to the care I received which was top notch at the Rosie - best thing I did was agree to have a student on the postnatal ward which basically meant that I had one-to-one care whilst there.

EauRouge - thanks. I'm not due until May so the ward should be open by then. Am concerned by the reports about possible privatisation though.

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