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Maternity care/nuchal translucency in Glasgow

(33 Posts)
leanabh2013 Fri 12-Oct-12 15:46:05

hi folks,

Looking for advice in my very first post! What are your experiences of maternity services in Glasgow (southside, assume it will be the Southern general that I end up in!)? I recieved my first appointment letter yesterday and to be honest I am now not at all confident about the quality of care I will recieve. Firstly, the letter was downright sloppy, and riddled with spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. More importantly, the letter both informed me that I will not be getting a nuchal translucency scan as happens elsewhere in the country (despite my being over 30, so not in the lowest risk pregnancy category) and simultaneously failing to inform me that my dating scan will take place at the first appointment. I only found this out when I phoned the unit to discuss the letter. Given that you need a full bladder for the scan and that they had asked me to bring a urine sample to a 9AM appointment, it is a good job I asked!

I was really polite to them on the phone, but they were absolutely useless and a bit chippy, and denied that Glasgow had ever offered this scan (despite their website trumpeting how marvellous their screening programme is). I was told to 'go private', but frankly why should I have to do this, when people elsewhere get it for free? There are plenty of couples in Glasgow who won't be able to afford this and will be left in limbo until the second trimester, at which point I would have real ethical issues about what to do should an abnormality be found. I asked if I could be transferred for the scan to an authority where it was done routinely but was told that all my care would need to move for that. No advice given on how to do that of course. I spoke to my GP too, and she could only advise that I complain but go private.

I have never paid to circumnavigate the system in my life and I don't believe in paying to do this both for ethical reasons and because I have paid a ton of tax and NI which should support such services! I will if I have to, but will be writing to my MSP and to the health secretary anyway -I'll go private if I have no choice, but the expense will be considerable: what are less well off people supposed to do?

I would really like to know how people have found the care in the Glasgow area. Am I being paranoid with my first pregnancy, or is the rest of the care as sloppy as the impression my recent contact with them would suggest? I am seriously considering asking to transfer to another authority. Tell me your stories, good and bad if you have the time!

BuntyCollocks Fri 12-Oct-12 15:55:09

I'm not in Glasgow, although I'm originally from the lothians, but I just wanted to let you know that the nuchal translucency isn't offered everywhere else. My hospital of choice where I live now have only jut started doing it, so recently that if I had been with them for my screening (currently 29 weeks) I wouldn't have had the nt. I used a midwife service to ensure I got it as my family has a history of downs.

Also, I'm not sure where the nt screening is offered in Scotland. I know at johns don't, but believe eri do ... It's very much still hit and miss.

Annoying as it is, finally, you can't deduce quality of care from a formulaic letter that gets sent to everyone!

BuntyCollocks Fri 12-Oct-12 15:56:07


newbie6 Fri 12-Oct-12 16:03:12


I'm in Ayrshire attending Crosshouse and they offer the NT with bloods. My sister in law attended the Southern General 2 years ago and she got a low risk assessment so they must have done 2 yrs ago. This year, she attended the Princess Royal Hosp and she got NT done there so maybe ask your GP to refer you to the Princess Royal for your maternity care?

Good luck whatever you choose to do


sleepyhead Fri 12-Oct-12 16:04:41

NHSGGC are still training up enough sonographers to offer the NT scan as standard. You actually will be offered the scan when you go to the Southern, but it will be be by a (fully qualified and experienced) sonographer who is still training to do this. They need to have done hundreds before they can do it for real as it's a very, very specific skill needing a high degree of experience and accuracy. You will categorically not be told the result, it will not be recorded in your notes and will not inform your care in any way. You can refuse to take part in the training programme of course.

They had expected to roll out the service last month but it's been put back again.

I did get an NT scan in Glasgow with ds 6 years ago, but that was because I gave birth at the (now no more) Queen Mother's. That was a smaller unit and specialised in high risk pregnancies so they probably had the most experienced staff. Where those sonographers are now I do not know, but even aged 40 as I am with this pregnancy I was told that I would have to go private if I wanted to have the NT scan.

We decided not to pay the £200 and just to go with my age risk (1:100) and the results from the bloods at 14 weeks and 20 week scan (don't know these yet).

By the way, 6 years ago although I got the NT scan at 12 weeks, Glasgow didn't give you a 20wk scan, so that's something that's changed for the better.

Otherwise, care so far at the Southern has been good. confused

sleepyhead Fri 12-Oct-12 16:06:56

Ah, maybe the QM sonographers went to PRMH then. If you're in the West of the City you can choose either for your maternity care so it might be worth transferring to the PRMH if you've got enough time.

leanabh2013 Fri 12-Oct-12 16:09:26

Ah, that's interesting to know about elsewhere! I was under the impression that the scottish government had put up a lot of money for it, so interesting to know that it isn't just Glasgow that has this problem! I know what you mean about the letter, but I work in the public sector myself and I insist that everything that goes out with my name on it is spellchecked and then proofread. Takes two minutes - and saves hours on the phone/email with people complaining. It is actually the fact that it is a standard letter that annoys me the most: I'd be more understanding in the case of a personal reply from someone under pressure, but not when this letter is the very first point of contact you have with a service!

We have a similar issue in our family - a terribly disabled child who suffered horribly and didn't live unfortunately was born on my other half's side of the family, which is why I'm desperate to check early that all is ok.

Good luck with your pregnancy btw, not too long to go for you!

leanabh2013 Fri 12-Oct-12 16:23:33


Thank you for all your replies, you obviously all type much faster than I do! It is good to know that people have found the care in Glasgow ok otherwise, I was just put off by a grumpy midwife denying that they had ever offered the scans in Glasgow (which I knew wasn't true!). I think I will phone my GP back and try and get in at a hospital with better services. My initial appointment is at the Victoria, which doesn't even have a maternity unit to the best of my knowledge, so it could just be that particular clinic that is a bit rubbish.

Thanks again

E x

sleepyhead Fri 12-Oct-12 16:42:37

Yes, I'm getting most of my antenatal care at the Western. They seem to base the community midwives at the Victoria and the Western now (last time I saw the midwife at my GP's surgery). If you're low risk then you see them rather than the consultants at the maternity hospital.

I've been put on the "Amber" pathway which means I've got some higher risk factors (the practically being a geriatric bit wink), so will have a couple of consultant appointments at the Southern, but mostly see the community staff. If you're generally low risk then you'll have practically all your care at the Victoria/in the community on the Green pathway.

MoragG Fri 12-Oct-12 20:13:54

I'm also on the South Side with my care split between Southern and New Victoria (33 weeks with DD2). I would agree that care can be a bit patchy. The initial booking appointment letter is not great - it should mention that you get your 12 week scan at this appointment. I only knew that I would because this is DC2! I have to say that they don't seem that bothered now whether you have a full bladder or not - I have had various scans this pregnancy (DD1 was small for dates and so is DD2) and it has not been mentioned. As a previous poster said, the sonographers at the Southern are training to do the NT scan - we were asked if they could 'practice' it with us. Although you don't get the results the sonographer did say to us that the fold was very thin, so we pretty much knew that we were low risk. You are offered the blood test a few weeks after your booking, so only just into the 2nd trimester.

The one thing I would say is there there is a lack of continuity of care - it's quite rare to see the same midwife more than once or twice. And the midwives who will be there at your labour are not the same team as the ones you will see at the Victoria.

I had DD1 at the Southern too - the labour suite is good, as it is new, but the actual wards are quite old, too hot and the food is awful...

leanabh2013 Sat 13-Oct-12 16:00:13

Thanks very much everyone for the advice and info. Bit worried about how patchy the care sounds, and I'd hope to have met the person who will be sticking their head into my nether regions at some point before D-Day too. That said, chances are it will be someone different if you give birth at certain times of day though! I'll go to the booking appointment, and perhaps ask to be transferred to the Southern for the rest of my care, as I can have difficulty with new people and environments at the best of times. Probably labour is not the best time to find out if I can deal with it! I think I've been a bit spoiled, as a lot of family and friends have had children in the Western Isles/Highlands and the care there is just amazing at every stage from what they have told me.

thanks again!

weegiemum Sat 13-Oct-12 16:10:58

Don't believe a word they tell you about excellent care in the western isles .... Raigmore is good though.

I'm a regular patient at SGH for something else and the food has improved hugely recently!

CountryKitty Sat 13-Oct-12 18:52:03

Hi I think you need to chill! A letter is just a letter and doesn't affect the quality of care you will receive.

I'm having DD3 at the SGH and have been more than happy with the care received this time as well as my previoiuus two births (and 2 mc's). As mentioned above they do perform the NT measurement as part of your scan. We too have a very disabled child in our family so I have been very aware of the standard of care/screening being received. We had initially decided to go pivate for all our maternity care, but having been to the NHS appt's haven't felt the need. Goodluck with the rest of your pg.

lotsofcheese Sat 13-Oct-12 19:55:23

I agree you need to chill a bit!!! I'm from Glasgow & living in Edinburgh. In my last pregnancy, I paid for both the nuchal translucency & bloods & a private 20 week scan as neither were available on the NHS. I'm an NHS employee & whilst not wealthy, found the money to pay for it.

This time (at Edinburgh Royal) I'll have these done on the NHS.

Bottom line: if you're that concerned, pay privately. You don't need a GP referral - you simply phone the private clinic directly & arrange.

wheresmespecs Sat 13-Oct-12 20:13:19

I sympathise, OP - I'm in Wales and the NHS don't offer a nuchal scan anywhere here - just a blood test later in pregnancy, which isn't as reliable. And leaves you with fewer options if you decide to terminate the pregnancy (sorry, not meaning to be insensitive here).

And it's not just a letter, is the thing.... I had poor and contradictory info throughout my pregnancy (thank god for a good and responsive community mw) - as did other mums to be, and it resulted in full bladders when they wanted empty ones, or vice versa (worse, obvs), no urine samples when they wanted them, no warnings when appts took 3 hours instead of half an hour, people not being told they needed to ring for results instead of waiting for them....

All the while the mother to be being blamed for not having had information no one had bothered to send them. I think crappy letters are a good indication of care. If healthcare providers can't write a decent letter, they aren't going to keep decent records, that's for sure.

Anyway.... I ended up paying privately for a NT scan. The mws never mentioned it, btw, so other new mums to be I met didn't know it was an option.

leanabh2013 Sun 14-Oct-12 12:38:16

'Wheresmespecs', a lot of this is ringing bells with me from my SIL's pregnancy (although she lives in Edinburgh), sorry to hear you've had such a rotten experience.

I think I'll raid the overdraft for tests. DH is self-employed, but was so worried about the letter and attitude of staff in subsequent phone calls that he is going to come to every appointment now so that I have back up. The odd typo is one thing, we've all done it, but when you are looking at a letter that is so badly composed that it fails to communicate some fairly important info (i.e. that a dating scan will be offered) it definitely rings alarm bells. My husband has been desperate for kids for years and would have been distraught to have missed the scan. I'd tried to keep an open mind until I spoke to the clinic, but the fact that I spoke to three different people who told me three different stories (you have to ask for the scan/ never ever offered the scan/ only do it for twins) is a bit worrying.

anyhoo, we shall see! good luck everyone with your pregnancies!

LittleBairn Sun 14-Oct-12 14:18:55

lea I'm in Lanarkshire and they don't do the Nuchal test in fact they don't do the scan until 13-15 weeks. I assumed it was a standard national test so was surprised I'd need to go private but not as half as shocked when I was told they don't do 20 week scans!
I would try and find out if you get the 20 weeks scan as you may need to priorities which one is more Important.

Heartbeep Sun 14-Oct-12 17:15:52

Where is your appointment OP? If its the southern general, they don't offer the NT. the royal & Paisley do offer the NT, CUBS. You don't have to go to the Southern, you can go wherever you want.

Did you discuss the NT with your GP? I did & was referred to Paisley instead of the Southern for that reason.

I think in general ante natal care is patchy since they removed it from all local GPs to central areas.

On the southside you can either attend the Victoria or the lesser known Clarkston Clinic for regular midwife appointments, both offer the same patchy care but one may be more convenient than another.

The NT has to be done within a certain time frame so you probably want to arrange the appointment as soon as you can.

You can of course go private if desired but it is available in your area on the NHS.

Best of luck & congrats on your pregnancy.

stargirl1701 Sun 14-Oct-12 17:20:08

Tayside NHS offer NT with bloods at Perth and Dundee.

Weenugget Sun 14-Oct-12 19:27:10

Hii! Not had time to read through all the posts so someone may already have said this! I'm in west Dunbartonshire and my care is through RAH in paisley. I've had nuchal/cubs test routinely through nhs and will also get a 20 weeks anomaly scan which I've been told doesn't happen at southern either. I find it hard to believe there's such a difference locally! It would be a different referral pathway though and you would have to transfer all your maternity care to paisley.

CountryKitty Sun 14-Oct-12 19:36:16

You DO get the 20 week anomally scan at the Southern General!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've had one with each of my pg's (currentlt expecting DD3).

All my friends have had their 20 weeks scans at the SGH.

Don't know where OP got her info from...

MoragG Sun 14-Oct-12 19:48:24

Yes - just to correct any misinformation - you get both 12 and 20 week scans at the Southern. Whwt you don't get is the NT scan (officially), but they are doing it to practice - they just aren't supposed to tell you the result. They only started doing the 20 week scan within the last couple of years - when I was pregnant with DD1 in 2009 you did not get it.

LittleBairn Tue 16-Oct-12 15:36:46

It was not misinformation I was letting people know that in South Lanarkshire you don't get the 20 weeks scan so don't assume and check personally with the hospital. hmm

LittleBairn Tue 16-Oct-12 15:38:05

Oops mean NORTH Lanarkshire.

Aboutlastnight Tue 16-Oct-12 15:41:50

Friends have had good experiences in Paisley, you could try getting referral there.

FWIW I had cub screening privately as was high risk for all pregnancies and it was done by my NHS consultant for around £100. Why not wait for bloods then have Cub screening if you are concerned?

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