Whittington or Royal Free hospital?

(15 Posts)
Tellylady Thu 21-Feb-13 21:48:10


I've just found out I'm pregnant and finding the prospect of choosing my hospital a little daunting! Does everyone have any advice or recent experiences they could share from the Royal Free or Whittington? Barnet hospital is also an option - its reasonably close to our home but not so convenient to get to from our places of work, which is why I thought Royal Free or Whittington might be a better option.

Any advice greatly appreciated!

inreallife Tue 26-Feb-13 15:40:33

I had my DS at the Whittington. It was a difficult pregnancy with many visits to the hospital, followed by a 3 week stay. Although the maternity wards could do with a bit of sprucing up, the staff were wonderful.
I'm told by many of my friends, that if you are lucky enough to have a normal delivery the birth centre at the Whit is amazing. I'd suggest going on a visit. See the wards, labour rooms and birth centre. You can book on one by calling the hospital.
Good luck with it all.

ifonlytherewastime Tue 26-Feb-13 16:14:43

I also had a good experience at the Whit. Birth Centre is great. Lovely rooms and birthing pools. Do check it out, def worth visiting before you decide.

Cords1 Tue 26-Feb-13 18:53:32

The Whittington birth centre is AMAZING, I had the most wonderful birth there plus my midwives, both during the birth and before and after, were just great. If you are on labour ward instead and the go to a post natal ward it isn't as nice or relaxing but still I think the midwives who delivered both my babies were fabulous.

headponcho Thu 28-Feb-13 21:56:25

I went to the Royal Free - nice enough hospital, but I didn't think the care was great. I had complications that could have been easily avoided and a pretty bad misdiagnosis, not to give TMI! have heard good stories about it, though, so definitely think you should go for a tour of both and ask questions. the other hospital you might want to look at is UCLH, just to throw something else into the mix : ) It's supposed to have an amazing maternity wing.

Tellylady Mon 04-Mar-13 18:16:05

Thanks all so much! So helpful to hear some first hand experiences. Sadly the Whittington don't let you visit anymore so I had to make do with a short vid they've made for their website but from what I could tell the birth centre does look great.

laughingGnomette Tue 02-Apr-13 23:36:26


I had my baby at the Whittington in May 2012. It'd hoped to use the birth centre but due to complications I ended up on the labour ward with a c-section. The labour ward wasn't bad at all, very busy but lovely midwives. I had an epidural and was able to remain mobile - not just strapped to the bed. The consultants were fab and put me at ease. Overall, very positive experience.
It's also worth mentioning that there was a pool in my labour ward room so if your heart is set on a water birth but the BC is full you could still have one.

The post natal ward was hellish and the midwives were over-stretched and some were very abrupt (although a couple were fab) but I hear this is pretty standard for London hospitals!

JenjoAP Sat 15-Jun-13 18:23:51


The Whittington birth centre was amazing. The midwifery team were fab there for the actual birth.

Acupuncture is also free at the mo (I had my ban in feb '13) and my midwife was excellent.

One point to note is apparently the birth pool in the labour ward is out of action and the staff won't let you get in it (we were told this by the staff in the antenatal classes). Hopefully you get to the birth centre, I think the birth pool really helped me get into comfortable positions but unfortunately I couldn't give birth in there though.

Good luck!

pmTea Fri 28-Jun-13 23:23:38

avoid royal free like the plague - awful birth there - treated me like sh*t, medically created need for ECS and forgot to feed me for a day, so DH had to go out and get me food from marks...
also have a very high caesarian rate - be warned!

Tellylady Mon 29-Jul-13 17:30:58

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I opted for the Whittington and have been really happy with everything so far (am 28 weeks now). Just hoping I'm lucky enough to get into the birth centre on the big day!

HotCrossedHut Thu 01-Aug-13 21:14:47

Hello, I had both my babies in the birthing pool at UCH, my first had complications and the team there were phenomenal; stepping in at the right time and making us both safe. My second birth was no-intervention/hands off and the midwife was so supportive & respectful of our wishes. I'd opt UCH over both the Royal Free and Whittington.

MTMD Sat 12-Oct-13 19:23:42

Hello Ladies

Please keep this thread going! smile
Just found out I'm pregnant and need to decide where to sign up for pregnancy care. Thinking Whittington...?
Also, I'd love a natural birth but Whittington's rate is somewhat lower than North Middlesex..? I wonder why since their birth center sounds amazing.

Firsty Mon 04-Nov-13 13:25:20

Hello Ladies,

I just found out I am pregnant! And the very first decision to make ...What hospital do I want to have my baby!! Please keep giving advise. I am interested in the visitor times in RF and Whitt? Is your partner allowed to stay overnight if needed? Are there private rooms available to deliver or stay? As the other bits are covered in their website. smile

Many many thanks

allypallylady Mon 11-Nov-13 16:42:28

I'm planning to have mine (due april) in the Whittington. I can remember reading - either online or on a poster in the waiting room that your partner is allowed to stay overnight in the MLU (not sure about the consultant led bit).

Not sure why the MLU rates are lower at Whittington? Maybe the unit is smaller? Never heard anyone say anything bad about it, and I am hoping to go to the MLU there myself if all goes to plan.

By private rooms - do you mean as a private patient? if so, I don't think the Whittington do private maternity / post natal care. Lots of other hospitals nearby do though - e.g. Portland and I think queen Charlotte? Post in the main section of mums net re: private maternity care in central / north London and you should get some responses.

Timandtobias Fri 13-Dec-13 16:57:18

I have had two babies at the Royal Free. I thought the care I received was amazing both times so I'm really sad to see it not getting a good write up here on MN.

I've copied below a review I left for the Royal Free after the c section on the nhs choices website, giving examples of what I thought was so good about it.

"I had a caesarean because I had complications after a previous vaginal birth, and the wound is healing very well. My pain was managed very effectively. I even got to breast feed my baby in theatre which was a great way to bond with the baby even though it couldn't be a 'natural' birth. The anaesthetists and surgeons put me at ease throughout by explaining what was going to happen clearly.

When my baby did not sleep well on the second night the midwives were really helpful in the middle of the night. They were always cheerful, friendly and helpful, and came very quickly when I called them or my husband asked them to. I was reviewed by a physiotherapist and specialist breastfeeding counsellors twice, and the midwife spent a long time taking me through the process after discharge, eg registrations, wound care, so I left feeling able to cope. It was really helpful that my husband was able to stay with me on the reclining chairs at night for help changing the baby when I was post-op. Even my discharge meds were delivered to the ward quickly!

I was reviewed regularly by the doctors and midwives, even when I had no concerns. My room was spotless and cleaned every day.

When there was a delay before theatre the consultant came to explain why so communication with patients is clearly a strong point. The delay was unavoidable as another woman needed emergency care and I didn't at that point, and having that explained to me meant I didn't mind.

I am really impressed by the Royal Free maternity unit. The other women I spoke to while in hospital felt the same so I hope they also leave reviews here. The care was even better than the private care that friends of mine have received at other north London hospitals.

I asked my husband if he had anything to add before submitting this - he said 'just that it was awesome.' "

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