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Where to have baby in London?

(17 Posts)
WhiteMagnolia Wed 20-Feb-13 10:21:59


I am in very early stage of first pregnancy (1st scan tomorrow at just over 7w) and my GP's both NHS and my private one are pushing me to make a decision about hospitals. I find it odd as I don't want to jinx things and feel it is still very early but understand that I need to get into the system if NHS or if I go private I need to book a consultant as sometimes there is a 10 month waiting list - clearly some very organised MTB out there!!!

My query is what would you do? I have medical insurance which would cover me to do the whole thing privately and my Doctor (private) has recommended the Portland as by far the best option - but I am worried as I live in SW London and traipsing there constantly could be a real hassle and also it is not exactly close for the big day itself - I reckon it could take over an hour to get there at certain times of the day. My NHS GP is saying St Georges Tooting is where she would put me...I am not so sure about this as I have heard some bad things. My other alternative is C&W Kensington Wing or Thomas's Landsdell Suite although these are kind of semi-private I think?

What would anyone do in my situation....I am not sure it is worth going to the Portland just because it's free to me - bearing in mind the hassle - or is it so much better that it is worth it? This is what my Doctor says and asks why wouldn't you go private if finances aren't the issue? I suppose he has a point but I just wonder what people's experiences have been of my other options?

I am having first scan at Portland tomorrow and a tour at the weekend, and hopefully seeing C&W and Thomas on Saturday but you can't book - so that should give me some idea but any feedback would be ace!

Thank you in advance!

dinkystinky Wed 20-Feb-13 10:36:23

I think you can go private at St Thomas - that's where my friend is having her twins.

WhiteMagnolia Wed 20-Feb-13 11:03:20

Thanks Dinky...

Yes - you kind of can - I think you can pay privately and have your consultant etc but you are actually in exactly the same facilities as everyone else until after you have given birth - so I guess the money is for the doctor expertise not so much for the luxury (not that I mind)! Having said that not sure giving birth would be luxury anywhere even at the Ritz!!

Has anyone done private at Thomas's?

Guntie Wed 20-Feb-13 11:10:00

If its free for you to go private, go the the C&W Kensington wing. Seriously.
I know a lot of people who have given birth at both and ALL recommend C&W kensington wing. Also if you need the special care for baby (god forbid) after they are born C&W is the best. If you were at the Portland and something happened to baby they often transfer baby to C&W for the treatment.

You are not too late at all to find an OB for C&W they still have lots of free space- it is a recession after all!

Congratulations and good luck!!

cyclecamper Wed 20-Feb-13 12:59:00

St Thomas's also has famously good special care facilities. I'd go to St Thomas's for the view alone grin.

The facilities at the Portland are lovely though, but parking is a nightmare (there is a private carpark in a back street, if there is space) and traffic wardens monitor all the nearby streets every minute - of the 5 parking tickets I have had in my life, 2 have been in Hallam Street when visiting the Portland or the children's clinic.

1500mmania Wed 20-Feb-13 13:33:58

Hi I was at St Thomas as an NHS patient and it was excellent. I was in the midwife unit - had my own room with en suite room looking straight out onto houses of parliament and big ben (great tourist viewing for the northern GPs who came to visit). I stayed in the same room for 36hrs - no horrible ward) and that was on the NHS. Would definitely recommend.

I'm a doctor and if I were you I would go for a private section of an NHS hospital because if the s**t hits the fan for you or baby (which hopefully it won't) I would want to be a close as possible to an NHS ward. Private wards are nice and comfy but NHS ones have lots of doctors iyswim xxxx

ChicaT Wed 20-Feb-13 14:13:45

If you have insurance, go private, no question! You do need to book in early, the best/popular/nicest OBs are booked up very early - I chose mine by 12 weeks but started looking from 10 weeks. I looked at both the Portland and C&W and chose the Kensington Wing at the C&W. The Portland is lovely, sparklingly clean, and you would certainly be comfortable and well looked after. Their tour is also a lot better than at the KW! However i chose the KW based on the consultant I wanted to be with (Roshni Patel, she's brilliant) and that they are a hospital. If anything serious happens to you or the baby you'll need a hospital and one or both of you would need to be transferred, though the Portland can deal with a lot on site so it's not as likely as some MNers make out! I'm high risk and so felt more comfortable being close to a cardiac unit/ICU and so far the care at the KW has been exceptional (I'm 23+3). I didn't look at St T's but I'm based in SW London so the C&W made sense - I didn't want to have to deal with crossing London in an emergency or in labour!

greenygrassy Wed 20-Feb-13 14:34:31

What kind of birth do you want? I wanted natural but thought I'd get myself the 'best' care as we could afford it. We went Kensington Wing OB led. Big mistake! Shit hit fan for baby big time. We were v unlucky but I'm fairly sure that if I'd been in an NHS birthing centre it wouldn't have happened. Having said that the shit can hit the fan no matter where you are. Just make sure your plan tallies with what you really want. Consider midwife led at Portland or Kensington Wing as well as OB led. Oh, and C&W NICU is fab.

CitizenOscar Wed 20-Feb-13 15:39:00

I've no experience of private healthcare so can't comment on that but I had brilliant care at St George's - just to balance any negative experiences you've heard. Both DS & I had complications post-birth & got considerate, expert care.

Teapot13 Wed 20-Feb-13 17:31:25

I would go private if money isn't an issue, but keep in mind that private care in London is for comfort and convenience. The private consultants mostly have NHS practices, so the expertise is the same. You probably get more individual attention as a private patient, but that's not to say you don't get enough on the NHS. (I haven't had a birth on the NHS, just to be clear.)

I looked into the Portland because it's close to our house but decided I want to be in a proper NHS hospital if anything goes badly wrong. I had my DC1 at St. Mary's and will be returning in less than a month with DC2. If I were you, I would pick an NHS hospital convenient to you that has nice private facilities. I would not bother traveling to the Portland -- you'll be going every week in your last month before the birth and you will not feel like it!

Also, if there's a consultant you want to use, you would go by wherever he/she sees patients.

Preposteroushypothesis Wed 20-Feb-13 18:06:17

I don't know anything about private care but I just wanted to add a second positive story about st. George's. I had my DD there and I am having my second there too. I had DD in the midwife led Carmen suite and it was fabulous!! However, you can only use this if you are a low risk pregnancy and if you go into labour naturally (so don't need to be induced). I also randomly had a lady tell me I shouldn't go there as she had heard something bad but we were recommended it by a friend who is a dr there and my opinion is that you will always have some people who h e a bad experience with so many people going through these places. Some of these are rare mistakes on the hospitals part, some are actually out of the hospitals control.

My advice would be to visit a few different maternity wards and see what feels right to you, remember that you can always change hospitals later if you change your mind, it is not set in stone

booboomonster Wed 20-Feb-13 18:28:07

Another vote here for George's. I've had fantastic care there twice and am booked with them this time again.

WhiteMagnolia Wed 20-Feb-13 20:31:19

Thanks all...I will go and have a look at the options ...c&w sounds like it might the best compromise...

maisiejoe123 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:43:17

Could I just ask you to double check regarding pregnany. I have a top of the range private insurance through my company and although I did use the Portland I was only covered for emergeny c section etc. Not for normal birth.

Have you insurance from abroad I am wondering...

WhiteMagnolia Wed 20-Feb-13 22:29:32

Hi Maisie - it is bupa international gold - company scheme - they have pre- authorised normal and c-section birth - I think the international thing does make a difference to normal bupa - but yes they cover all costs bar food for guests!!! Think it might be because my husbands company is registered in US?

How was the portland? - first scan there tomorrow so fingers crossed all is well and then the decision making starts in earnest!

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 20:59:23

Sorry, of course, you have international cover, that explains it. Yes, would recommend the portland but was a while ago. Portland is very expensive. We paid ourselves, wouldn't be able to afford it now.

maisiejoe123 Thu 21-Feb-13 21:00:55

Sorry, of course, you have international cover, that explains it. Yes, would recommend the portland but was a while ago. Portland is very expensive. We paid ourselves, wouldn't be able to afford it now.

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