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Whipps X / Homerton / Other - how & when do I choose?

(22 Posts)
MissLemonsEyebrows Fri 28-Feb-14 17:54:35

Hello! This is my first time on Mumsnet, so greetings to you all. I live in Walthamstow and am 8 weeks pregnant with my first. I've been offered a booking appointment and scan at Whipps X when I'll be 13 weeks. My GP gave me the impression that I could choose where I gave birth, but didn't say how I might go about doing this. Who do I tell, and when? Will I be committed to going to Whipps Cross once I attend my booking appointment? If I try to go somewhere else, will it mean that my scan and booking in aren't done until later? When do I have to decide if I want to have a home birth or something else? Sorry if these are ignorant questions, but my GP is a bit breezy and vague about it all. Any helpor advice you could give would be much appreciated!

MummytoMog Fri 28-Feb-14 22:27:46

Oh god not Homerton. Not Homerton. The street rather than Homerton.

Whipps is lovely, stick with it. They have a nice midwife led unit. My first delivery was at Homerton - it was horrific. The midwife was a total cock and left me pushing on a baby who was hopelessly stuck for six hours. The delivery ward flooded. The other mothers got evacuated, so every other midwife came in and shouted at me for fun instead. I had to stay in a foetid arsepit of an postnatal ward for four days. Now they 'can't find my delivery notes' when I rather urgently want to see if their fuck ups have left my daughter with brain damage. SCBU was nice though.

Whipps was lovely, midwife led unit was lovely, postnatal ward was lovely. Car parking is a bit expensive, but that was the only downside I remember.

MissLemonsEyebrows Sat 01-Mar-14 08:01:37

Yikes, your experience at Homerton sounds harrowing! I hope you & your daughter are OK.

Can I ask you when you delivered at Whipps Cross? I've just been quite terrified by everything that's been in the press recently about Whipps Cross being a filthy, sadistic institution with medieval standards of care...

www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/14/whipps-cross-hospital-systematic-failings

There are so many horror stories about maternity care in hospitals that it's making me seriously consider the merits of giving birth in the street.

Do you know when and to whom I might be able to voice a preference to go somewhere other than where I've been assigned (people seem to have good things to say about UCH, for example)?

Cariad007 Sat 01-Mar-14 08:07:53

It's a bit out of your way but I can thoroughly recommend the birth centre at the whittington. It's also not as busy as UCH.

MissLemonsEyebrows Sat 01-Mar-14 08:56:17

Thanks for that! I have a friend who went to the Whittington and had a decent experience. I will look into it.

MummytoMog Sat 01-Mar-14 09:33:52

2011 for Whipps, and 2009 for Homerton. I wouldn't say the midwives at Whipps were the most sympathetic in the world, but they were very competent. While I was waiting to be discharged they managed to deliver an undiagnosed breech, resuscitate the baby and return him to his mum in about five minutes, pink and lovely. In Homerton, their answer to DD being stuck was to repeatedly catheterise me and shout at me to push harder. Oh and to take the gas and air away because if was making me lazy. Until the registrar came along finally anyway. Registrar did a lovely job of stitching me up and the SCBU nurses were very nice too. Postnatal nurses were miserable and mean.

Homerton was filthy apart from SCBU, Whipps was very clean. Food was terrible in both.

You can have a tour of Whipps before you deliver, and you can always change your mind then if you hate it. Your antenatal appointments will be in the ground floor of the maternity unit, so you can poke about a bit.

Or get 'caught short' near your hospital of choice...I'm not sure you'll be able to opt for the Whittington, but there are a couple of other choices from what I remember, George and Queens maybe?

MissLemonsEyebrows Sat 01-Mar-14 19:30:29

Thanks so much - this is all very helpful!

Bumpforme2014 Sat 01-Mar-14 22:08:58

Hi misslemons I am also 8 weeks pregnant with number 1 and have been referred to whipps as it is ten mins from me and I already go there for an ongoing bowel condition.

Interesting to hear peoples thoughts on homerton as have never heard anything about them but heard negative things about whipps. The gastro dept of whipps has been great from my experience so far so I am going to see how I get on. Got booking in appt very quickly from them on 11th and my scan on 18th so will see how they go.

What do you think you'll do?

MissLemonsEyebrows Sun 02-Mar-14 09:26:41

Hello Bumpforme! Congratulations on your pregnancy. I agree, it's interesting to hear so many experiences - I have a friend who had a baby in Whipps 2 years ago and found it fine. But I have also heard some stories that bring me out in a cold sweat. And the report of overflowing bins and bloodstained curtains at Whipps Cross has stuck in my mind.

I'm coming to the view that quite a lot depends on luck - how many people are on shift when your time comes, how busy the ward is on that day, whether too many other people are having pain relief for you to be allowed any, etc. Clearly, as with any profession, there are some amazing midwives, and some nasty ones - and you just don't know who you're going to get.

I have no idea how I'll make the decision. I'm frankly terrified of labour, so if there were anywhere that could guarantee that I could have an epidural, I'd choose my hospital based on that. But that seems to be a crap shoot across the NHS, from what I've heard.

Oh God, what have I got myself into?!

longleggedlady Sun 02-Mar-14 09:52:48

I'm at the Homerton and so far my experience has been great. I'll be booking a tour of the delivery rooms etc soon so I'll let you know what I think. I have another friend who had prem babies and couldn't rate the Homerton more highly in terms of professionalism and care. I think the postnatal midwives are supposed to be a bit 'brusque' but what do you expect..we're in London!? smile

MummytoMog Sun 02-Mar-14 10:18:39

Well there's brusque and there's being horrid to someone who has no choice about staying in for three days while her baby has iv antibiotics. I certainly didn't intend to bed block, I would rather have been anywhere else! But a certain amount of briskness is probably a good thing.

Bumpforme2014 Sun 02-Mar-14 10:26:36

It's so difficult isn't it, I think most NHS hospitals in London get very mixed views. Like everything in London one persons experience is different from another and you make a good point about luck.

I hate going to hospital so I know it will be terrifying for me, I just hope I can get in and out as quick as possible.

kingbeat23 Sun 02-Mar-14 10:37:45

I was at the homerton. All was great until post labour ward but that was due to lack of staff to women ratio.

Support was amazing, rooms were clean and as soon as a private room came free on the post ward they let me have one.

BigW Sun 02-Mar-14 10:42:29

Just so you know, you can go anywhere. Whipps is my local hospital (Woodford), but I decided to have DS at Princess Alexandra in Harlow. It's a different PCT, so there was a bit of faff, but all you have to do is tell your GP.

MissLemonsEyebrows Sun 02-Mar-14 10:47:41

Thanks, BigW - I didn't realise that. More hospitals to choose from!

AnneWentworth Sun 02-Mar-14 10:50:26

I have had three different hospitals and Whipps was easily the worst of the bunch for me. I came across lots of MWs during my induction and pregnancy and they were all not all that nice. They didn't believe me when I was in labour (2nd child) and I had to 'prove' it by going on the monitor. I had to literally make as much noise as possible to be moved to the labour ward and then it was triage where they again said not ready. Kicked up a fuss until they moved me into a room and they still said no labour- mw left I put my hand down there told DH something was there and it was the babies head. Then they asked why I didn't tell them, refused to let me lie on my side (because that isn't possible not because of any concern). When he was being born I started taking my top off for skin to skin and they told me not to get so excited at which point DH almost lost the plot.

I do have friends who have had better experiences. I think it is individual, who you get etc etc.

tshirtsuntan Sun 02-Mar-14 10:59:32

I think you can choose whichever you prefer, within reason, I had ds at Whittington in 2009 even though we are 10 mins from homerton. Antenatal and postnatal was very crap although the delivery suite and midwives there were fantastic. Homerton has got a lot better recently, apparently they pumped a huge amount of money and resources into it as its the nearest hospital to the main Olympic site so may be worth a look (have a couple of friends who have given birth there in the last year and full of praise) princess Alexandra is lovely, my friend from south Woodford gave birth there twice, feels a bit more intimate/old fashioned and friendly, look at them all if you can and try to get a feel for what suits you.Good luck!

flipflopsonfifthavenue Sun 02-Mar-14 20:12:51

I had DS at Homerton and they were all great except post labour ward a bit pants and bfing advice poor. They also discharged me to wrong borough so I didn't see a mw til day 3 by which time DS was jaundiced so ended up at Whipps for a night anyway in mum and baby ward and they were all lovely.
I live closer to Whipps but heard rubbish reports and since then have seen that guardian report too.

Re gettin referred, GP referred me to Whipps first as the closest and I got a call from them a few days later for booking apt. By which point I'd decided on Homerton so rang GP surgery to ask them to refer me to Homerton. I rang Whipps back and cancelled apt and they were fine about it except wanted to make sure I didn't fall between the two hospitals which I didn't luckily. Homerton rang me shortly after to arrange booking and all apt we're good and delivery was good, mw all lovely.

hackneyzoo Sun 02-Mar-14 20:31:02

I had DC2 at home in Hackney and DC3 at the MLU at Homerton, this was in 2011, so I am probably a bit out of date, but they were fantastic. I was the only one on the MLU, my midwife was lovely, very supportive. DC3 ended up in the SCBU for 5 days and they were excellent, supportive and very professional. The post natal ward was noisy, but managed to get a private room, which was good. Aftercare was fine, there was zero support if you wanted advice or help with breastfeeding though, luckily it went ok.

ch1a Tue 04-Mar-14 16:37:06

I had ds1 at whipps, moved to Walthamstow at 35 weeks and transferred from whittington then. Antenatal care was decent but labour ward for my induction was not a pleasant experience, two out of three toilets broken, no ice, sharing tiny room without even space to walk around my bed for first 30 hours, rushed midwives,sharing one for 3 women in labour, dirty room once transferred. That said I know people who had a fine experience there and one who had a home birth under whipps tram which she said was great.
I'm going to Homerton for ds2 in may - but not so much because I think whipps will necessarily be the same again but more that being in the same environment will just mentally take me back to how I felt during those long 3 days of induction and I need a change of scenery to have a chance at coping better this time.
If I didn't have a particular experience anywhere I'd say just go to where is closest! I can say that postnatal was fine at whipps though so a very mixed experience

ch1a Tue 04-Mar-14 16:42:05

I sound like such a princess saying no ice - but it was lots of little things that really would have added to my comfort at the time. There were some medical mess-ups too like badly inserted catheters and cannulas which had to be redone after, in the case of the catheter, being told I wasn't drinking enough water after drinking cup after cup of water and the midwife subsequently realising she had not inserted it correctly. These things were down to specific staff members so I would say that they probably aren't asymptomatic of the hospital as a whole. All these little things really upset me at the time but looking back it doesn't sound that bad!

MissLemonsEyebrows Thu 06-Mar-14 14:42:08

ch1a - no, you don't sound like a princess at all - that's a very long time to be so uncomfortable! Thanks, everyone, for all your comments. And Longleggedlady - let me know how you get on with the tour of the delivery rooms at Homerton! It still all feels so far away and abstract that I think I may just sit back and not think worry about it (/bury my head in the sand and pretend none of it's happening) a while longer.

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