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Private Obstetrician Recommendations London(62 Posts)
I am currently 7 weeks pregnant, live in Melbourne Australia and just found out that we are moving to London for my husbands work. We are anticipating being in London by September.
Our daughter was stillborn in December 2012 so this is a very anxious time for me and I have been really organised care-wise in regards to what I want for this pregnancy, currently very much in love with the OB I have chosen over here.
I would like to have this baby privately in London (expensive I know) so I would really appreciate any private obstetrician recommendations you can provide. It is really important to me to have an OB with a great bedside manner that is caring and understanding about what my husband and I have been through. An OB willing to help put my mind at ease when needed and ideally one that has an ultrasound machine in their office to do a quick scan if needed to show me all is well.
Any advice and recommendations would be greatly appreciated! We will be living quite central (zone 1 or 2 with a W, NW, or SW postcode). We have lived in London before so are familiar with many areas and using the NHS, just not with being pregnant in London or using private health.
Congratulations! I have Karl Murphy and he is wonderful and so knowledgeable. It's our first child and he is enormously supportive and understanding. He has an ultrasound machine which he uses ever time we go in and it's so reassuring. I'd definitely only consider him for any subsequent kids we have x
Thanks Jenna! I'll look into him. Where is he located and what hospitals does he deliver at? Fees? Thanks so much again!
Also, can anyone explain to me what/if private health insurance covers for pregnancy and birth care? I'm getting really confused with some of the info, some sites say insurance doesn't cover maternity care (do they just mean ante-natal appts but hospital is covered?) but then other sites say some is covered by insurance.
Here in Australia our private health covers our hospital fees but we are out of pocket for our obstetrician.
I'm having him for the Lindo Wing at St Mary's, but he also does the Portland. He's about £7000 if you have him from the start of the pregnancy, less if you're further along. That doesn't include scans, blood tests and the fees for wherever you give birth.
Insurance here doesn't normally cover very much if anything at all, it obviously depends on your personal insurer. Some of them cover for emergency procedures. If you work for an American company I think they cover a lot but UK ones don't. Call your insurer and find out where you stand though.
Good luck choosing one!
Congratulations ! Karl Murphy delivered my daughter in January and I can wholeheartedly recommend his care and attention. He practices out of the Lindo Wing at St Mary's in Paddington and the nearby Portland Hospital, and his consulting rooms are located in the latter.
I chose to deliver at the Lindo Wing on the basis that if something went wrong, the full resources of St Mary's would be available, whereas at the Portland, they would have to transfer to St Mary's anyway as they lack very specialist care facilities. This was discussed in advance and I felt very reassured with my choice. I do recommend that you visit any hospital you are considering in advance to see what facilities they have.
Mr Murphy does tend to get booked up very quickly and therefore I strongly recommend that you contact his office as soon as possible to get yourself booked in. His practice partner is Lorin Lakasang and she was recommended to me by a friend along with Mr Murphy as she had been cared for by both for separate deliveries.
Regarding private insurance, I cannot speak for what your Australian policy may cover, but UK policies in general do not cover pregnancy excepting, in some cases, emergency care. You will need to check your policy wording very carefully. Obstetrician fees tend to be around the GBP 7,000-9,000 mark covering all care during your pregnancy. Tests and scans add another GBP 500-2,000, and your hospital delivery will be around GBP 5,000 (higher if a Caesarian). Additional nights depend on the hospital and are around the GBP 800-1,000 mark.
Thanks. My husband does work for an American company so they do cover some/all of our insurance. We are currently with Bupa and they told us to switch to an international plan because with UK plans you have to be registered with a GP for 6 months before you can get cover? I got the impression from them that maternity would be covered but then will read certain OB or hospital websites and they say insurance rarely covers maternity. Confusing!
When you say your scan aren't included in the fee, you mean your big scans (12 & 20 weeks) right? Not just the little scan he'll do at an antenatal appt?
Sorry for all my questions but this is just such a big move during such an anxious time!
By scans, I did indeed mean the bigger scans - the ones conducted at the antenatal appointments are included in the obstetrician's fee.
I seem to recall that Bupa's international cover does include some provision for maternity care but again, please check the wording on this.
Not sure if you will be able to transfer insurance or keep it continual somehow but given the way how normal insurance works, you're not usually covered for pre-existing conditions so you might find it difficult to be covered for anything pg related this time.
Any chance of your dh talking to his company and getting them to sort it out with their big corporate discounts!
Ombanker it's so good to hear how much you liked Karl. I'm only 19 weeks at the moment but he's been fabulous so far.
Darlingclem I chose the Lindo for the same reasons as Om. Really good luck with the move and your pregnancy, you'll be in very safe hands whoever you go with x
Because we are already with Bupa and are in the middle of serving the maternity waiting period (12 months here, 10 months for international, which would make it up in October) we are fine for that part. The international cover is more expensive but they told my husband we would be fine for a Feb. birth since the baby would arrive after the waiting period. We'll be sure to check all the fine print. We are able to transfer our Australian plan to international though.
I have told my husband to tell HR we will only move if they help us with private care, whether that's a better insurance plan or them paying for it. We'll see what they say!
Any other OB recommendations? I will email Dr. Murphey tomorrow.
Thanks again ladies!
I had both my DC with Zoe Penn at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital. She is expensive (around the 10k mark) but my first was a complicated pregnancy (pre-eclampsia at 30 weeks) and she was brilliant, I went straight back to her when discovered I was pregnant again.
congratulations on your pregnancy, which must be a bittersweet experience for you following the loss of your daughter.
In my experience of doing lots of looking at the fine print of insurance companies' policies, I think the gist of it is that while they won't cover standard antenatal care or normal vaginal birth, sex discrimination laws prevent them from excluding maternity care entirely, so there is usually some provision of medically necessary c-sections, miscarriage, molar pregnancies (although some policies are a bit opaque about this).
Anyway, this is probably moot if you have an international policy and will have served the pregnancy exclusion period, or most of it, by the time you arrive! I think I have seen the BUPA international policy (as bizarrely, you can buy this in the UK if you are not British, like me). If I am right in remembering, there is a fixed sum for antenatal care and birth, and then full cover for what I would call "extras" such as a c-section or PPH.
Ombanker is right in terms of the general level of prices. Most obstetricians charge less when you start your care later in the pregnancy, the problem is that they might be booked up already.
I had my son by c-section (covered by insurance) at the Portland, with Mr Pat O'Brien. His private practice is out of the Harley St Centre for Women. He was recommended by my gynaecologist so I didn't shop around. I saw him first on the NHS at UCLH and then transferred at around 37 weeks to private care. I lost a baby in the second trimester and he was very kind and accommodating of all my anxieties. He is also quite "scientific" - not cold, but rather in the medical consultant/skilled surgeon mode rather than the rainbows and orgasmic birth type. This suited me fine. I've met one other UCLH consultant who is also at the HSCFW, Mr Senai Subair, although only once. He was very friendly and immediately put me at ease. They have very sophisticated scanning facilities at the HSCFW.
In terms of your options for private birth, I think this is what you have available:
Chelsea and Westminster - Kensington Wing
King's - Guthrie Wing
Queen Charlotte's - Sir Stanley Clayton Wing
UCLH - Fitzrovia Suite (ECLS only)
Kingston - Coombe wing
St Mary's - Lindo Wing
St Thomas's - Lansdell Suite.
As you probably know, these are all private wings attached to an NHS hospital except for the Portland. I did have a little wobble about going to the Portland because you will read plenty here about how their facilities are not comparable to the NHS, but when I asked Mr O'Brien directly about this, he said that in his experience, if things went wrong, I would get help/bloods etc faster at the Portland than at UCLH. Plus you are already under consultant care during the birth. That was enough reassurance for me. They do have a NICU and SCBU but they don't have an adult HDU.
Wow, you girls rock! Thank you so much! We are pretty much 90% coming, the only hold back being my anxiety about this pregnancy and leaving a great support network of friends and doctors. I guess I'm kind of scared to rock the boat when I've got a pretty good handle on my grief/depression right now.
I've so far enquired with Karl Murphey (from suggestions above), Dr. Miskry (from other posts I'd read on this site), and Pat O'Brien because a woman in my support group used to work with him at The Portland and recommended him, good to see another review of him here.
DH spoke to his work and told them I was pregnant and that private health for my pregnancy was a deal breaker and they said no problem so think we will be fine there with them covering the international cover or difference compared to what we'd be out of pocket here.
Most OBs I've looked into seem to be out of The Portland or Lindo wing so it's good to see some thoughts on the two. I have noticed from past posts on this site there is a little negativity about Portland. But there also seems to be a stigma about going private in the UK in general I'm noticing, I've enquired on other sites and have gotten a 'just go with the NHS' attitude. I know it's a great system, but right now I need a lot more hand holding than most and just want the continuity of care and reassurance of frequent scans.
I will book before I arrive so should get in early enough. Dr. Miskry actually said that because I've already enquired that they would allow me to book at any time, although his fee is a flat rate.
I do have a question about c/sections. Are many of the private OBs in London really pro c/s? I.e. will I feel pressured to have one? I am open to one as I am currently still pretty traumatized from my labor and petrified to go through it again, I guess I can't imagine giving birth to a live baby. But, I would like a dr that would try to encourage me to labor and birth. I only ask this because many of the drs discuss c/s on their websites and you don't really see that over here.
Thanks again girls!
Re c-sections, my guess is that consultants in their private practice aren't bound by NHS targets to keep sections under a certain level so they have much more flexibility in offering them to women who would like one (or at least the reassurance that one is on offer) without worrying about answering to NHS policy guardians. That said, I don't think you would be forced into one if you wanted to go for a VB. As you're paying, I think the general view is "your body, your baby, your decision" ultimately. It's pretty easy to decode the language on their websites!
For me a c-section was the only way to go because of my gynaecological condition but I think there are lots of obstetricians who are supportive of natural birth. There was a private hospital known as John and Lizzie's in St John's Wood which has since closed down (for financial reasons I should stress) so if you are keen to find a more natural birth oriented obstetrician you could try doing a search for their names, I'm sure they are cached somewhere. Or there's a poster called QTPie who had a baby there a few years ago, if you PM her she might be able to help.
In my experience of using a large central London hospital for my antenatal care, I rarely saw the same midwife twice and did wait up to three hours sometimes to see a consultant. Also I saw some slightly disturbing scenes while I was waiting sometimes (women kicking off, storming out of appointments claiming they had been racially abused and shouting at staff etc). If you can avoid all that by paying, I would!
With apologies, I did not mention this in my other posts, but I am very sorry for your loss.
I second a lot of what Ghislaine says.
I experienced both NHS and private care before confirming my decision to go private. My NHS care took place at UCH which has great facilities but I found the care to be inconsistent - sometimes excellent, sometimes not. Interestingly, the appointments staff can book you into the same midwife's clinic each time, but simply do not.
The care I received privately was ultimately much more thorough but also a great deal less stressful. Any potential problems were quickly identified and dealt with, whereas on the NHS side, items from previous visits were often missed because a new person was reviewing my file each time. Obviously the NHS has constraints and does a good job for all that, but my experiences were not overly positive.
Separately, I wanted to have a natural delivery and was lucky enough that it worked out this way, fully supported by Mr Murphy. It will depend on the consultant but in general, the emphasis is on minimising risk for both you and your baby. For me it was important to have had a discussion about my wishes and the options available to me as well as understanding what could happen if things did not progress according to plan, and being comfortable with all of this.
Most consultants who have a private practice also practise on the NHS which means that they are always up to date with current NHS guidelines.
I had a private delivery last year after a late loss. I am very sorry to hear about your daughter. I went to the Lansdell suite. It was run down but moved to the new shinier wards a few months later which i saw when i went for a follow up. I had Kumar Kunde who was good and would use again although hadn't been my first choice. It is worth calling around to secretaries as they may not have space for your dates or be away. I was very impressed with the paeds and anaesthetist consultants I had as well as the special care wards - had to use a bit. For delivery you use the same facilities as NHS.
Portland does have special care facilities but not the top level for very seriously ill babies so I was more comfortable with a level 3 NICU on site.
I presume you're not eligible for the NHS so ignore those who say just to use that.
A friend is currently under Pat O'Brien who finds him very good. When looking around I concluded there would most likely be a number who would give me what I want rather than thinking there was one special consultant I had to find.
Re cs I suspect websites may mention as certainly until v recently you couldn't insist on a cs on the NHS so it was one reason to go private.
Nick Wales at Chelsea and Westminster is a very good man with very sound instincts. I know several people and relatives who have used him, one for a giggle risk pregnancy. My friend who is a GP in south kendington (nhs) highly rates him and said he has turned potentially bad outcomes into safe deliveries in circs when she isnt sure many others would have done. she is inpressed. There are a lot of private obs in London who are the sort that people rave about at cocktail parties and who I wouldn't send my cat to. Early caesars to ensure they are not disturbed at christmas, that sort of thing. Zoe Penn also good but given the choice I would see Nick Wales.
I don't know Murphy.
Haha, I was wondering what giggle risk was! I was like 'hmmm, haven't heard of that condition before!'
I am eligible to use the NHS, anybody in the UK whether a tourist or resident is. I know this from my previous experience living in London (2003-2005), the NHS is fully universal, so if you're in the UK, even visiting, you're allowed to use it, unless it's gotten more strict since then?
My personal experience with the NHS was a few dr's just really overworked and not having the time for me. When my depression first began I went to get some anti-depressants and the dr asked no questions about what was wrong or what had happened, just wrote me a script for Prozac stating 'because you're American and Prozac is popular over there.' ????!!!! I was young when I was there though (22-24) so wasn't really good at speaking up, I am much more of an advocate for myself now and will ask advice on what GP to choose, research, etc.
We have a couple of friends living there now with new babies, one has had a good experience, happy using the NHS. The other almost died giving birth when she lost a lot of blood and the hospital had NO blood to give her (she has a universal blood type so could have had anything, but the hospital had nothing). Scary!
I went public here with our daughter in December, with her birth/death and all the appointments that followed everyone has been amazing to us, the care has been wonderful. But while I was pregnant I just kind of felt left on my own. Besides your 12 week scan and a visit with your GP nobody sees you until closer to 20 weeks. We have gone private with this pregnancy and already, only 8 weeks in, the prenatal care is vastly different.
I can't remember who wrote it above, but your experience with NHS is pretty much why I don't want to use it for this pregnancy (ie never the same midwife, long waiting times, etc). Having a set appointment time is optimal as DH and I are pretty set on him coming to all appts. I was by myself when we found out Clementine died (it was a routine appt that had been booked for weeks, I wasn't even meant to have a scan so we saw no reason for him to come) the OB I saw ended up having a scan machine and said 'let's just have a quick look' and I got all excited that I was going to get an extra look outside our 20 week scan that was booked a couple days later. She couldn't find a heartbeat and Clem wasn't moving, she had probably died a week before. That hour of waiting for DH to get there was awful, I suspect more for him because I had a midwife and social worker comforting me whereas he was stuck in a cab trying to keep it together while the driver chatted about whatever. After that experience we've decided he'll be at every appointment so a long wait when he has to get back to work wouldn't be ideal!
I thought as much with the c/s. I figured maybe most women don't go private unless they are having a c/s so maybe that was why the OBs speak so much of it. I am actually a doula, so have a lot of experience with birth and birth choices, but after loosing Clem all my confidence and any ideals I had have flown out the window! I kind of have an attitude of 'do whatever you have to do to get this baby out alive!' But deep down I know a VB is optimal and safer so still feel I should be encouraged for one. Who knows what I will decide though.
You ladies have been really wonderful and making me a little less frightened about moving over! I will look into more of the OBs today!
Hi darlingclem best of luck with your pregnancy
Can't help with suggesting obs but that's not quite right with regard to non-resident NHS treatment, big issue here NHS tourism. hospitals and GP surgeries are cracking down on showing proof of residence although emergency care treatment is free for anyone but not overnight stays
I am another with terrible nhs maternity experience, never same mw twice, and seem much more overworked in my current pregnancy than in 2007 my first. I am going the independent midwife route but would do that in a private hospital if I had the funding!
They must be cracking down as I never once even had to show ID when I used the NHS for various things when we lived there 03-05, that was 8-10 years ago though!
It does say certain countries have an agreement with the NHS and certain visas allow use. We are coming to live permanently on valid visas so I would assume use of the NHS won't be a problem.
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