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Which hospital?

(10 Posts)
ozhodge Tue 03-May-11 21:04:51

Very new to London and found out we are approx 9 weeks pregnant. Took us a week to get to the local GP and then they asked which hospital, University Lewisham or Queen Elizabeth. We had no idea. Need help. Will have to be public as private is way to expensive (told 10k!!!). So we live in Greenwich and need to decide quickly the best hospital to go with. The Dr said Queen Elizabeth but any advice on hospitals and of course anything else about having a baby in London would be greatly appreciated.

samsmother Tue 03-May-11 22:04:26

No experience of queen Elizabeth but I chose not to have my baby at lewisham last year as I'd not heard very many positive stories. However they have since opened the new birthing centre which I have heard some good things about although the aftercare apparently is poor. Which is nearest to you? I remember posting the same kind of question last year!

bringmesunshine2009 Tue 03-May-11 22:07:11

I hear Queen Elizabeth is the best. Greenwich Hospital brings back bad memories, that I won't go into other than to say, is it still open? I am surprised they haven't killed all their patients off.

Tangle Tue 03-May-11 22:23:05

Congratulations grin

You can get some comparative data on different hospitals here. You can get all manner of statistics like CS rates (elective and emergency), home birth stats, number of pool births, etc - although they don't make any interpretation of whether the unit handles a higher than average number of complex cases, which could impact on the stats.

Did the Dr give any indication as to why he'd recommend QE?

At this stage I'd read the pages on the site above, read the hospital's own pages on their maternity services and get a gut feel of where you feel more at home. You can call the hospital and ask if its possible to go on a tour of the labour ward, but many try to restrict visitors (often as a means of infection control) and don't allow you to go till you're well into the 3rd trimester. I'd also consider the journey you'd need to make at different times of the day/night - is one unit much more practical?

You need to give them a preference so that they can use the right set of notes and (usually) so you can see MW's from the appropriate team - but you can change your mind at any point during the pregnancy if you decide you made the wrong decision (they may not like it as it will mean more paperwork, but at the end of the day that's not your problem - you need to focus on getting yourself into an environment where you can feel safe and supported during the birth of your baby).

(There is an option of an Independent Midwife, the price for which is likely to be nearer £3 or £4k. They provide continuity of care from now through to about 1 month post partum and will either support you in a homebirth or can accompany you to hospital, usually in the role of a birth partner/supporter/doula. Not the right option for everyone, but I found the continuity of care and level of care to make a huge difference to both my experiences of pregnancy and birth)

edwinbear Wed 04-May-11 10:31:56

Hi, I'm also in Greenwich and due to have DC2 in QEH in November. I had DS1 at QEH in August 2009 and it was frankly a horrific experience, in fact it was so upsetting that DH is refusing to come to the next birth with me, hence we've hired a private midwife to be my birth partner. The main problem is that QEH is a huge, busy hospital and simply didn't have enough midwives when I was there. To give you an idea, I was checked once in 12 hours after having already been in labour for 10 hours and with an epidural in place. I had to have a syntocin drip to restart my labour which they forgot to plug in for 3 hrs. I was also left alone with DH to push for 20 mins whilst the midwife went to try and find a doctor as things had started to go wrong. The midwife shouted at me in labour that I wasn't pushing properly and nobody explained how to use G&A when my second epidural ran out having been in labour so long the first had run out. When she wasn't shouting at me for not pushing properly, she was at the bottom of my bed writing up notes barely looking at me. I ended up with forceps in theatre and having had a managed 3rd stage they only allowed 15 mins for my placenta to be delivered, (it should be 30mins), it hadn't come out by then so they did a manual removal which in all liklihood wouldn't have been needed if they had waited a bit longer. The forceps did so much damage I now have a prolapse of the front and back vaginal walls. I was in hospital for 5 days afterwards and the postnatal care was dreadful. I was put in a ward with a mum whose baby had had to go to special care which I thought was insensitive of them, as she had to watch me with DS1, but they also had two beds for women in early labour so they were moaning most of the night hence I didn't get any sleep at all. DS didn't take to breasfeeding at first and got a bit jaundiced, so under the doctors advice I was advised to top up with formula every 3 hrs. One evening I couldn't get a midwife to bring me any formula for 5 hours. I made a formal complaint to the hospital but was pretty much brushed off.

When I found out I was expecting again I was very reluctant to use QEH but my GP advised it was generally considered better than Lewisham so that's where I'm going, but with my own midwife to act as an advocate for me if things start going wrong again. Maybe i was unlucky but it wasn't a very good experince at all.

ozhodge Sat 07-May-11 09:19:47

Thanks for all the responses. It certainly leaves alot to think about. We went to QEH for a first scan. OMG. I had to leave the first day because i was there for 4 hours waiting and had to pick the kids up. Went back and again waited hours but at least managed to see someone. Reading all the posts on here, they are all horror stories. Have certainly made up our mind that its def not QEH.
Lewisham seems have really positive reviews this year (on this forum for the most part) which seems to be the complete opposite of any prior years. I think the new birthing centre has made a big difference. Doesn't discount the other stories.
We were told St Thomas's but they have said wrong catchment. We will try again but that may not be an option.
Tangle, thanks so much. That site was really helpful to just get an idea. Dr didn't give any indication why QEH. Just said Lewisham or QEH, please pick one. Of course we have no idea as we only moved here 4 weeks ago, only been in London for 8 weeks...

Edwinbear, that is one of the worst experiences i have read. I can't believe what they have put you through. Why didn't you consider Lewisham? Is it because of the reputation?

Ultimately we aren't looking for hotel service but you want the process to be straightforward, respectful and most importantly, not risking the health of both of us.

ozhodge Mon 05-Sep-11 20:09:45

After getting up to 27 weeks, we have decided to go St Thomas via private (couldn't get referred). At the end of the day it came down to risking it or not and if it means we don't take a holiday somewhere to have piece of mind then so be it. It means we will have a NHS delivery but stay in a private suite for 24hrs afterwards so can enjoy the time. We now have a dedicated OB and i don't have to wait 2 or so hours each appointment.

edwinbear Mon 05-Sep-11 20:39:43

Hi Oz, yes, the reason I'm going back to QEH is because Lewisham seem to have an even worse reputation than QEH, not that I think it could have been much worse! Although I have heard very good things about their new birth centre. After the complaint I raised last time and bringing it all up again when I booked in at QEH this time round, they are treating me with kid gloves this time so I'm hopeful it will be much better. I think you've made the right decision though re St Thomas. good luck!

LondonGirly Mon 05-Sep-11 21:51:41

I'm going to lewisham, care there has been really good so far. I am 28 weeks. I think things have changed a lot there over the last couple of years. Know a few people who have given birth there recently with really good experiences.

ozhodge Tue 06-Sep-11 20:19:00

Thanks both. I agree that Lewisham has had alot more recent positive reviews but with such a risky first pregnancy (emergency c-section not in this country) it just kept weighing on us that you don't have the same Dr, felt a little rushed etc etc. So for full piece of mind we just thought, you know what, lets just do it, feel calmer and be done with it. Today we met with the Dr and he knew my syndrome, how to treat it, what to do to ensure we know the symptoms and completely put the mind at ease. Probably would have been ok but feel 100% better already.

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