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JohnRadcliffe/Great Western/Royal Berks/Basingstoke & North Hants?(29 Posts)
I'm pregnant for the first time (5 weeks) and have been told I need to choose which hospital I want to have the baby with. I can choose between John Radcliffe Oxford, Great Western Swindon, Basingstoke & North Hants and Royal Berks.
Don't have a preference yet, though my GP was less keen on Royal Berks as it's a bit like a conveyorbelt.
I've had IVF and so it may be twins (bit early to tell yet) and I also have an inverted uterus (no idea if that makes a difference to what I might need).
I think I'd like the option of a midwife led unit with normal delivery suite on hand if things go wrong. Equally sometimes an elective C section seems appealing as at moment thought of labour terrifies me!
Does anyone have any recommendations?
They have 'homely' birthing suites in Basingstoke. Balls, sofas and a pool in one of the rooms. I had cs's though so can't comment on the actual care in labour, and I expect it's just pot luck if you get one of the rooms.
Post-natal care was a bit crap until I started to get bossy, then it improved.
I've got a few friends around those parts who've had babies. Royal Berks was v. unpopular as was Swindon. The JR seemed to be quite good though, not heard any bad reports from there, everything seemed very clean, midwives in and out all the time. I went down to the Intensive care baby unit too (I think that's what it was called) to see my friend's premature twins and there were at least 5 or 6 members of staff for about 10 babies, all being taken very good care of.
At the end of the day its your choice though!
I don't have any experience really as I'm pregnant with my first but I decided on the Great Western over the JR due to the proximity to my home in south Oxfordshire.
They also have a very recently opened midwife lead unit (March 2011), which is oposite the consultant lead ward should there be any complications.
Good luck with your decision. How far along are you?
Sounds like you live near me as those were my choices. I chose John Radcliff Oxford. I think it has a good reputation?! If I were to choose now though, I might go for Swindon, as it is closer for me and is new, and I was recently there in the children's ward with my daughter and was very impressed with her care.
I had my son at GWH back in 2007, ended up being a EMCS but the care I received during labour, during the section and the after care in the ward was great. Am due baby number 2 in October and am heading back to GWH. They have breast feeding advice volunteers there too now as well as the new midwife led birthing suite.
Only have experience of John Radcliffee. Started off in the Midwife led Unit, called Spires. Has 3 rooms, I was in the water pool room. Was lovely with en suite (that my DH was thankful for!).
The reason I chose Spires is that it is on Level 7 and the Labour ward is only a couple of levels down so I knew I was near to pain relief if I needed it.
Here's a link to a PDF about Spires
Also they have a very good breastfeeding clinic there as well.
GWH was by far the closest hospital for us so had DS1 there and am planning on having DS2 there in 6 weeks in the new midwife led unit which is apparently wonderful (friend gave birth there 6 weeks ago).
The care I received there was great. My SIL had hers at Basingstoke and the first birth experience was awful, second was ELCS as apparently they wouldn't induce her for VBAC.
Don't know anything about JR or Royal Berks I'm afraid.
Thanks for all your advice. So have definitely narrowed it down to 3 and probably to JR or Great Western.
Littlepic - am 5 weeks so v much early days. What about you? Have you been to Swindon yet?
mummymcar - in what way were your friends' experiences at Swindon bad?
So much information to process!
Just saw the latest messages - it will definitely be JR or GWH.... good to know both offer much more than basic maternity services.
Thanks for all the recommendations
I have very recent experience at GWH, my DD is 6 mths. Had a very good experience there, fab midwife called James, he very renowned round these parts I've since heard! It was discovered shortly before I went into labour that I had a heart prob but it was all dealt with quickly and efficiently and all very calm. They do have the new midwife led unit running alongside the cons unit and friends that have experienced it have given positive reports, gives the reasurance of help on hand should it be needed. That said the delivery suite is just as good to be honest.
Postnatally they are all lovely, I had a side room at my request, cost £120, worth every penny IMO, was on an open ward of four in a different hospital with my first and hated it, like my privacy. I've read that in some hospitals if you choose a side room you're left to get on with it and mw's/nurses ignore bells, this is not the case with GWH IME, they always came if I needed them and were in and out every hour or so anyway, even sat chatting to a nurse for an hr one night, just wanted some adult company and she was happy to oblige! Meals have to be taken from the hotplate in the corridor at the set times (can't remember what they are though) which I didn't find to be a problem.
Also had some experience at JR (though not in maternity) and although they are fab I just like I was another number at times.
How far is the travel times to each of these two? It may end up being the deciding factor!
Well I would recommend the JR, because my DD was born there (and so was I!) It's a really nice atmosphere there - all the staff and midwives are so helpful and lovely. It's clean and bright and not dreary like that hospital in One Born Every Second. The labour suite was massive with a variety of birthing balls and stools and mats to aid labour. My midwife was so brilliant, she even went and got me one of those lavender wheat bags that you can heat in a microwave for my contraction pains. Even aftercare was lovely - midwives spent time with me teaching me how to breastfeed and they also teach bathing techniques if you ask them.
One bad point about the JR is the parking. If by coincidence you need to come in on a Monday morning, then there is no chance you will get spaces around the women's centre unless you get in at around 6. Your best bet will have to be your OH/DH leaving you inside whilst he goes and parks in the other carparks for the main hospital or children's hospital. Hopefully you'll go into labour at silly a clock so then it won't matter!!
I recommend driving up to the hospitals you have shortlisted and just have a look at the area and grounds to get yourself familiar with it. You will find the JR really nice - I really can't praise it enough!
I can't recommend the JR highly enough. I was there for 3 weeks and was very unwell with PE and they were brilliant- midwives lovely and very helpful. In what was quite a scary situation they kept me informed and really looked after me. I was very supported even once we had left hospital and had help breastfeeding etc. DD was in SCBU for 3 weeks and the staff there were brilliant. The hospital was efficient, clean and bright. Since I was there for so long I feel like I saw a huge amount and was always very impressed with how the midwives and doctors handled things.
True that parking is an issue, but I never had the experience of visitors not being able to get a parking spot. The area is also quite good as there are restaurants and shops within walking distance if your DH or visitors need to pop out to get you something!
I had ds by elcs at GWH last year. He ended up in SCBU and I was pretty ill, but I could not fault the care that ds and I received. All the hcp I met were wonderful, and I never had the feeling that I was asking for too much help (which had happened at Wexham Park when I had my dds). I could not fault them.
White Horse Video
Just found this online which might prove interesting if you are considering GWH.
I think my friend's experience was probably just personal to her, she said she didn't like her midwife much. I'd take it with a pinch of salt though - she was under a lot of stress at the time!
Sounds like everyone else on here has had good experiences though so please don't rule it out because of my friend, I'd feel awful!
Thanks for the link Moodykat, I've chosen GW as friends gave birth there and had good experiences but this is really helpful/reassuring to see too.
Hi grottielottie, I'm very late to this discussion but just in case you are still checking. I had my first scan at GWH on Friday (I'm 13 weeks). It went well and everyone was lovely. I'm classified as out of area because I live in south Oxforshire so they did all my booking bloods and my Downs test bloods at the same time. They said this was usual for women who live out of area. I've never had a better blood test couldn't feel a thing. So far I'm very happy with my care, although it is only very limited at this stage.
Good luck with your PG
Had my first at the JR - was good except the postnatal ward is busy and noisy (aren't they all though). Tip: ask for a weekly parking pass when you go into labour, the car park is blardy expensive!
I am probably too late for this now - I live next to the Royal Berks but if (or when) I get pregnant I will probably opt for the JRH as they treat me anyway and I have always found them to be competent and caring and also are specialist in a number of gynae fields. My friend had her baby last year at RBH and had a pretty terrible experience where she was 'left to get on with it' when actually there were complications. A different friend used the GWH in Swindon a few years ago and said they were excellent.
I don't feel safe with the RBH, the JRH seem to know what they are doing but they are very busy, if Basingstoke has a good rep I may check them out to (if I ever need to)
My SIL had her first at Basingstoke and said the care was awful. She had been warned of this by other people but went ahead anyway as it was her closest hospital. She had her second at Frimley which was only slightly further away (she lived in Fleet) and said the care was fantastic. She couldn't recommend it highly enough.
I also know of another woman who had her baby at Royal Berks and said she felt as if everything was being pushed along too fast and they didn't have the staff to cover the amount of labouring women. She also felt they encouraged her out of hospital too early.
Oh no! I'm having my first at Basingstoke in October and am now feeling slightly apprehensive having read the comments above! So far they've been fine...
Quilty, don't worry things may have changed! My nephew is now 7yrs old.
If you are happy with it, I'd stick. But maybe no harm in looking around others if you have doubts. Is Frimley close to you? My SIL was in Fleet so Basingstoke was only slightly closer for her.
Thanks Spotty, I might do some more asking around. I'm closer to Winchester, but I'd heard really bad things about it there. Might do some more research though.
Quilty, just to second what Spotty said. It might be worth having a look around at other hospitals, even if you still go with Basingstoke. At least then you'll be more informed and confident you've made the right choice for you.
Most of my friends had their babies at Basingstoke and said it was fine. We looked at Basingstoke and Winchester and chose Winchester as it felt right for us, (but then I also have bad memories of Basingstoke having had to visit my mother who had terminal cancer when I was a young child so nothing to do with the actual care).
I don't know where you live but other hospitals I've heard good things about are Frimley, Guildford, and Winchester.
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