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Whittington Hospital: not impressed so far

(29 Posts)
dellacucina Mon 04-Apr-16 15:53:21

I am hoping that people here might have some guidance/advice.

I am currently 6+4 and have been attempting to make antenatal appointments at Whittington Hospital (booking and scan).

When I preferred myself, they never got back to me. I have now received a letter saying they made repeated efforts to contact me and have given up on me.

In the meantime, my husband and I have both called to make some appointments. They confirmed to my husband that I would have the booking appointment and scan on the same day at 12 weeks.

I called today to confirm that they have my correct contact info (since I was on pins and needles waiting for them to respond to my self-referral but never heard back!) It turns out that they changed my appointment times without notifying me. They clearly did not care that this happened and when I asked HOW it happened, they just asked in a surly way if I wanted the complaints department.

Here are my questions: Has anyone else had this kind of experience with Whittington? If so, was it just an issue before you actually got to have an appointment? I can imagine that maybe they are careless with new patients but more kind/concerned once you are an established patient.

Based on the way they have treated me so far, I am considering trying to find a new provider - but I am so desperate to get my 12 week scan that I am not sure I want to start this process over again!


dellacucina Mon 04-Apr-16 15:54:03

That should be "pre-referred" above. Weird spell check issue!

riddles26 Mon 04-Apr-16 16:09:52

I can't speak for Whittington but am having my maternity care at UCH. I did not refer to them until after 8 weeks as I previously mc at this point and psychologically wanted to get passed this point before seeing GP or making a referral.
Despite my late referral, I can't praise them enough. I had my booking appointment at 10 weeks and will have my scan just after 12 weeks. They sent me the date for both appointments in the post together with some other maternity information and even made the effort to give me morning appointments (which I requested but said I completely understood if was not possible).
I highly recommend them; we plan to have everything there but some do go UCH for all antenatal care and then transfer to somewhere closer to home for delivery if that is a better option for you.

nehagarg Mon 04-Apr-16 16:19:21

Hi dellacucina .. I am registered at the Whittington and havent had any issues at all my entire pregnancy (I am 32 weeks now) and they managed my mmc quite well too.

I self-referred and got a call a few days later (the first time I was pregnant) with a date. Second time, I chased them up since I hadn't heard from them and they gave me a date on the phone there and then. What number have you been calling? Try the Maternity Day Unit?

Stylingwax Mon 04-Apr-16 16:23:55

To be honest, it's very early to be getting upset about it, they may be prioritising others who are further along in their pregnancy. For my second I didn't get booked in till week 10 and then got a scan appointment. The early stages are a waiting game without a lot of medical input, you get a bit more fussing later on.

laughingGnomette Mon 04-Apr-16 16:26:25

I had a baby there in 2012 and I'm due to have another in June this year.
Both times I just filled out the online self-referral form and got a letter through with my appointments. I didn't do this until after seven weeks pregnant this time around because I needed EPU scans. Any time I've needed to change an appointment I've just phoned up and it's been fine. I've found my care with them to be great so far but they are a busy London hospital so getting the appointments at times you want may be tricky.

CityMole Mon 04-Apr-16 16:27:58

oh dear, they do sound disorganised! A lot of places don't accept referrals until 7/8 weeks, so they are maybe struggling to deal with your enquiry as you've got in there so early? I know at my hospital, they struggle sometimes to make appointments more than a month out (and there is a women with one of those 'COMPUTER SAYS NO' type of faces, that I always seem to get whenever it's my turn at the top of the queue to go and make my next appointment booking. She's actually really lovely, but SO SCARY at first, and she does struggle a bit when she has to go into the next calendar month for bookings and I have to bite my trembling lip and be patient). I guess what I am saying is- nowhere is perfect, you will encounter all sorts of little foibles and idiosyncrasies along your journey!

You have bags of time to change provider though, as lots of people don't get referred/ self-refer until further along. So I wouldn't feel like you need to stay with them just for the sake of your 12 weeks scan (which is presumably another 6 weeks away!) I guess the question is whether your confidence has been has been blown in them sufficiently to warrant making the switch.

laughingGnomette Mon 04-Apr-16 16:28:13

I'd definitely agree with you Stylingwax.

dellacucina Mon 04-Apr-16 16:48:19

Thanks for your responses, all. It sounds like I should maybe see how things go with the booking and scan appointments and take it from there. This whole process is so stressful!

It might be worth mentioning that I am American (with an English partner). This could mean that I have different expectations from medical providers. Part of me also wonders if my American accent affects how people treat me (like they assume I am aggressive, treat me accordingly).

dellacucina Mon 04-Apr-16 16:53:10

Oh, and nehagarg: I first called the number on the Maternity Services page:

Today I called the number on the letter which said they gave up on contacting me and were discharging the referral!

Inwaiting Mon 04-Apr-16 18:25:14

Sorry I'm not under your hospital but just wanted to say London is one of the most diverse capitals and I highly doubt being American is having anything to do with it.

I suspect you've caught someone on a bad day. Unfortunately I have found my midwife appointments and scans to be quite rigid but with the thousands of women they're dealing with they have to.

Good luck for your scan and future appointments and most importantly your pregnancy smile

It's my first pregnancy and I did find it all a but overwhelming to start off with. 8 weeks seems like a lifetime at the start so I know where you're coming from but there is a long, long road ahead smile

civilfawlty Mon 04-Apr-16 18:29:43

I had ds at the Whit, and overall had a wonderful experience, albeit not completely perfect.

dellacucina Mon 04-Apr-16 20:14:58

Thanks lnwaiting. How far along are you?

Yeah, she was probably having a bad day. She said she was just back from annual leave. Maybe she came back to find someone had left the books a mess in her absence!

Thanks also for the good luck wishes! I realised I was getting a bit nutty from the uncertainty, so I have now booked a viability scan next week. Maybe overkill, but £100 seems like a bargain for 5 weeks feeling slightly more reassured about the whole thing!

civilfawlty: mind elaborating on what you did/didn't like? Like top 3 best and worst things?

Inwaiting Mon 04-Apr-16 20:18:11

We had one at 8 weeks too. It was amazing but it doesn't keep you from worrying just be prepared. But it does break up the weeks. I had a scan at 8 weeks (private), one at 13 (NHS), one at 20 (NHS), one at 28 (4d), another at 32 as the little monkey wouldn't have its photo taken (4d) and hopefully my final at 32 weeks.

I'm 28 + 3. I'm not going to lie you just don't stop worrying and I found it all really overwhelming. What is normal to the medical profession is a complete other story to us! There's nothing wrong with being pushy if you want to understand something more xxx

dellacucina Mon 04-Apr-16 20:57:37

Ahhh, just the beginning of a lifetime of worrying . . .

Thanks - that is a helpful perspective. Good luck getting the photo next time!

Stylingwax Mon 04-Apr-16 21:03:02

I totally second getting the private scan early. It can feel a bit underwhelming in the early stages with NHS care, you're bouncing off the walls with excitement and phone the GP basically as soon as they've DTD and they're not really interested until 12 weeks!
That, however, is what mumsnet is for smile

dellacucina Mon 04-Apr-16 21:07:42

smile !!!

JessieMcJessie Tue 05-Apr-16 00:25:37

Odd. I am with the Whittington and all god so fa. Self referred online at 8 weeks and got a call and a text 2 days later with my booking in appt for about a week after that. Was given 12 week scan date at booking in, they scheduled it for exactly 12 weeks. At 12 week scan I got my 20 week appt, again bang on 20 weeks. I get an auto call the day before the appt to remind me of it.

Am also seeing the consultant and they were really good about arranging my 20 week consultant appt on the same day as the 20 wk scan so I don't have to go in twice in one week ( their suggestion).

I have found the midwives pleasant and professional. All test results have come through very quickly. I only hope they keep being as good when it comes to scary crunch time!

JessieMcJessie Tue 05-Apr-16 00:27:43

Ps on occasion I have forgotten an appointment time and have had to call up to check; they have always been really nice on the phone when they'd have been quite entitled to be grumpy about me having lost the letter!

BettyBi0 Tue 05-Apr-16 09:46:24

I think you might just have been unlucky OP, and it's very early on to be stressing about dates for appointments. It's a bit weird that they'd said they've made multiple attempts to contact you already. I self referred at 6 weeks to a different NHS hospital, had an appointment letter through by 9 weeks telling me about booking and scan appointments at 12 weeks. I probably would have started chasing at 9 weeks if not heard anything to check they had my correct details.

I know a few people who had amazing birth experiences at Whittington over the last few years and felt quite tempted to switch there myself but stuck with UCLH for familiarity.

BeardMinge Tue 05-Apr-16 10:28:33

I self referred to the Whittington, and apart from a slight mix up at the beginning (someone had input the wrong house number so I didn't receive my scan date letter - I rang to chase) it was all fine. I did slip slightly between the cracks as I was consultant led then mw led then consultant led again, so you need to keep an eye on things and be a bit proactive about calling up. I actually ended up with appointments coming out of my ears as a result.

The mws were all lovely though (particularly the wonderful Therese, and the diabetes midwives).

What I tried to bear in mind throughout is that it is an extremely busy NHS maternity dept which cares for an awful lot of women, many of whom who don't have English as their first language. So if I have to chase a bit it's not the end of the world, because I am familiar with the nhs and know roughly when I should be seeing someone.

Oh and if you ever have to go to the day unit for monitoring take a good book and a snack because the waiting times can be horrendous!

BeardMinge Tue 05-Apr-16 10:33:38

Also, at 6+4 it's a bit early to not be impressed, but if you want to change, why not try North Midds or UCLH?

Btw, my Texan friend had both her babies at the Whittington and loved it, don't expect 5* luxury though.

JessieMcJessie Tue 05-Apr-16 13:15:26

I hear North Midds were terrible, very overcrowded and don't touch with a barge pole!
Agree that the Whittington has a very diverse (and fertile!) population to deal with - most ladies in the waiting room with me clearly were not native speakers so I think that the admin people sometimes have a lot to deal with making sure patients understand everything - not the case with you obviously OP but may explain why sometimes their response times are slow.

BeardMinge Tue 05-Apr-16 13:49:26

I'd heard similar about Nth Mids, but I do know that they have swanky newish maternity unit up there. The Whittington is pretty old and creaky (although they were doing seemingly endless building work to the maternity bit whilst I was pregnant).

nehagarg Tue 05-Apr-16 15:20:24

Stay away from North Middlesex, for sure. I went there for a blood test and never got the results. Lol. And they were rude and horrible.

Whittington have been great during my pregnancy so far. If they do slip, I> can always call them and they are super nice.

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