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Private or NHS?

(39 Posts)
TinySalmon Thu 14-Apr-16 08:25:55

Hello. I'm pregnant with my first and new to MN. Saw my GP yesterday for the first time since my BFP and talking through our options re Private delivery vs NHS delivery. Sh wasn't particularly helpful and said I have to go see my NHS GP too.

Can anyone shed some light on either with their own experiences? If it helps, Chelsea & Westminster hospital is the nearest maternity hospital near us.


Pepperpot99 Thu 14-Apr-16 08:27:41

NHS every time. If there are any complications - which are quite common - you will be whisked off to the NHS hospital anyway.

Pepperpot99 Thu 14-Apr-16 08:28:38

welcomr to MN btw and congrats on even tinier salmonsmile

Stylingwax Thu 14-Apr-16 08:31:50

NHS for the reasons above, BUT I was NHS but paid for nights on the private ward of the NhS hospital post delivery so you get your own room and a bit of pampering. Plus I got extra private scans.

OTheHugeManatee Thu 14-Apr-16 08:33:18

We wondered the same but decided there wasn't much point in private maternity care as it's one of the things the NHS does pretty well overall and if there are any complications NHS facilities will be best equipped.

Deoensing a bit on your area you might want to engage an independent midwife to support you through pregnancy and birth - continuity of care can be patchy with midwives and some find it helpful to have a qualified, expert advocate there at the birth.

OTheHugeManatee Thu 14-Apr-16 08:33:57


zaza86 Thu 14-Apr-16 08:59:52

Agree with above, but if you would be at C&W you would be in a fully equipped full service hospital in case anything went wrong, even if you decided to give birth in the Kensington wing, so no issue there.

TinySalmon Thu 14-Apr-16 09:18:09

Thanks everyone!

Thank you for the warm welcome pepperpot and thank you stylingwax - I think that's what I will do, go down the NHS route but pay for a private room after delivery.

So I guess there's no point in paying for private care when if something goes wrong I'll be under the care of the NHS anyway..!

londonrach Thu 14-Apr-16 12:10:16

Nhs every time but if you have money pay for private room in nhs. Seriously if things go wrong you want to be nhs. Did anyone watch that bbc program last night on portland. Id love to but am avoiding one born any minute etc as pregnant and dint want to get scared prior to delivery. Is it graphic like one born every minute?

londonrach Thu 14-Apr-16 12:10:55

Welcome op x

Stylingwax Thu 14-Apr-16 14:33:40

I had my baby recently in Liverpool Women's where OBEM is currently filming, tho I declined the opportunity to star....generally birth is less exciting, can take a while, and I've found the midwives (from my survey of two births) put you off going in for as long as poss but once it's actually happening they're fab!!

tilder Thu 14-Apr-16 14:40:49

For some things private can be helpful. Getting a quick scan. Treating non urgent but irritating conditions.

For anything remotely risky NHS everytime. Private medicine makes its money from quick and easy stuff that doesn't hang around. The slightest sniff of a complication brings out the small print in the insurance document.

Congratulations on your pregnancy - really exciting flowers

jellycat1 Thu 14-Apr-16 14:53:12

Congrats! I've had 2 at the Kensington Wing and would recommend. Kicked out the Portland due to the risk issues outlined by PPs. Went private because I wanted the continuity of care, more control through pregnancy and over the birth - and then the privacy etc at the birth. Yes you can try and book a private room on the day but if nothing's available you're on the ward and it's a very busy one. I wouldn't recommend midwife led at Ken wing though so you'd need consultant which increases the cost. Feel free to pm me if you're still considering it.

Bessie111 Thu 14-Apr-16 14:57:57

Congratulations! I'd recommend watching the Portland doc from last night and that was very informative (nothing graphic or even gooey Londonrach) it really highlighted you get the exact same care as on nhs for actual delivery, it's just the extra scans, meetings and better food you're paying for! The consultant went to great lengths to stress you get exact same qualified bods as on nhs. Maybe best to go and have a look round and ultimately pick somewhere you feel comfortable? X ps. Was quite sad I thought at Portland as they took babies away at night and had rows of breast pumps so babies got bottles from nurses so mothers could "look their best and rest", even had diets for new mums, felt very outdated!

FrenchMagpie Thu 14-Apr-16 16:47:33

From my experience, private care was absolutely fantastic for 2 high risk pregnancies (am pg with DC3 now and although "high risk" still, things are going smoothly, so far). I was also Consultant led at the Kensington Wing - and would absolutely recommend.

My second pregnancy was very traumatic, and the care and attention I had from my consultant was incredible - he is one of the reasons we even considered another pregnancy! With the NHS, even if consultant led, you won't necessarily see the same Doctor each time.

Interestingly Tilda,having been prepared to pay privately, our complications meant that we were actually covered by insurance for a great deal of the cost!

Pinkheart5915 Thu 14-Apr-16 17:05:48

I used/am using the Portland and I would recommend it.
I had private care when I had ds last year and have the same again for my current pregnancy due in August.

I liked being able to see the same consultant all the time.
I had no complications it was a vaginal birth with ds with just gas and air near the end stayed 2 nights dh stayed as well and we kept baby in with us the whole time

Welcome to mumsnet btw
Congratulations on you pregnancy

BombadierFritz Thu 14-Apr-16 17:14:43

Nhs midwifery is chronically underfunded and understaffed. I'd go private these days, if you can reasonably afford it.

Suzietwo Thu 14-Apr-16 17:29:27

I have had 3 nhs pregnancies resulting in 2 emcs and 1 elcs. Went private for this, my 4th and final because I want to minimise the risks and thus far I'm overwhelmingly impressed. The difference in care is immense. Cost is 2,500 for the care up to delivery. The hospital charges 6k for delivery by c section (st thomas') and the consultant fees are on top.
I'm pleased I didn't pay the first time said never have gone back to nhs

DowntonDiva Thu 14-Apr-16 17:49:09

I gave birth a couple weeks ago at CW On the NHS side. We did consider private but decided to save our money. Antenatal care leading up to delivery was standard with no continuity and felt rushed and "tick box". So I had extra private scans at FMC.

However, on the day the care was absolutely fantastic. I started in the excellent birthing centre (brand new and so plush you'd think it was private) then was transferred to the labour ward for an epidural. I some how ended up in a private room on the NHS side without requesting or paying (very very lucky). Staff are excellent, felt so looked after and we have been back twice to have some issues looked at with myself and baby and cannot fault the care.

Facilities are a bit grim in the communal areas, bathroom cleaning not as frequent as you'd like but not as horrific as I had heard. You can request to be transferred to the Kensington wing post delivery, it's £1,500 a night but they may not have rooms available.

For me if I have another baby and am low risk I would do the same again and be happy to pay for a private room post delivery as my DP and I had such a special time bonding with our DD in privacy.

TinySalmon Thu 14-Apr-16 18:14:00

Wow! Thank you everyone for your advice and your kind congratulations. What a lovely community I have stumbled across!!

I really had no idea about the differences as I didn't grow up here. Back home (Australia) it would have been a no-brainer to go private as the maternity arm of the public health system doesn't have the same reputation as it does here.

Certainly lots to think about. I guess I'll see how my pregnancy progresses and if it looks like I will be high risk (I shouldn't be as I'm only 28 but you never know!) then I will say on the NHS side, but I do like the idea of a private room and if we can afford it then why not. I once had to stay on an NHS ward last year (they thought I had appendicitis) and I was troubled to see how understaffed and overworked the nurses were.

We are part of a private GP practice where we pay a monthly "membership fee" and get unlimited access to GPs so the good news is I think I can go in for an ultrasound as often as I want to check for heartbeat etc but may look to pay for a private obstetrician for deeper analysis from time to time. I'm incredibly nervous as this is my first pregnancy and just want to have my mind put at ease throughout the process.

kiki22 Thu 14-Apr-16 18:56:05

Ive no hope of being able to afford private so don't know anything about it but if I could afford a private room I would have one no doubt. My ds slept all night in the first night in the ward but the baby in the next bed cried all night long, then the woman across form us had so many visitors none of the other 5 ladies visitors could get a seat, nothing more than an annoyance I know but a room of our own would have been amazing.

BombadierFritz Thu 14-Apr-16 20:14:40

The other thing you could think about is a birth doula. She would be a birth partner alongside your own partner and a source if support (emotional/non medical). You need to book one early though

DaisyFranceLynch Thu 14-Apr-16 20:31:12

The birth centre at C&W is beautiful - a bit like a spa with mood lighting, giant birthing pools etc - but I ended up being induced and having an EMCS so gave birth on the labour ward.

The care during active labour and delivery was very good but postnatal care, and care during the early stages of labour, can be a bit patchy - we paid for a private room afterwards (just a regular one on the labour ward for £300 a night, not the Kensington wing) and were left on our own for long periods of time, sometimes being forgotten about by the HCPs on their rounds.

I'd still pay for a private room afterwards (I spent a couple of hours on the postnatal ward and it was hot and cramped and noisy) but next time I am going to try to save up for the Kensington wing.

TinySalmon Thu 14-Apr-16 21:31:14

ooh! I had a look at the Kensington Ward and that looks nice Daisy - I had a look at the package prices for the Kensington Ward, Westminster Ward (St Thomas') compared to The Portland and they are all around the same costs £5-7k depending on vaginal or c-section delivery.

Bessie I ended up watching some of Five Star Babies about the Portland and just thought that's what all private maternity wards are like. I think it's silly the hospital cheapened its name by going on TV. I don't like how media plays up to an "us and them" society.

Kiki thank you so much for your feedback! It's stories like these that help me make my decision

I might make enquires about the Westminster unit at St Thomas'. St Thomas' appeals to me big time as if there was any serious complication I think it would be one of the best hospitals to be in.

jellycat1 Thu 14-Apr-16 21:49:10

With my first we went midwife led at K Wing and stayed in for 3 days as I lost a lot of blood etc. All in it was around £16k. With the second we had the most amazing consultant so with his fees on top we didn't get much change out of £20k. It's not to be sniffed at. Just to dispel one thing I think has been misunderstood. If you're consultant led in a proper hospital you are obviously extremely well taken care of in high risk situations all through your pregnancy and through the birth. If you're midwife led you don't have your own consultant so in an emergency during the birth, you'd be transferred to the NHS side for that care and then go back to your room after the birth. If you become high risk during the pregnancy,
they give you the option of either transferring to NHS (you then don't pay after that point) or getting yourself a consultant and continuing privately. If you're consultant led from the outset, it's obviously irrelevant - you have continuity of care from a consultant throughout pregnancy and birth. To suggest going privately increases risk is nonsense. It's the same surgical facilities and the same consultants usually. What you're paying for is continuity of care, more frequent check ups, control of when where and how you give birth and comfort and privacy. The only thing that put me off the Portland was just that if the baby or mum need extra care in a very bad situation, they sometimes have to be transferred and that worriied me. Plus it's miles away from us. Plus C&W is statistically one of the safest places to give birth (whether or not you pay) Hope that helps clarify. Also just to clarify that your gp can likely give you Doppler scans but I'd think to get proper in depth scans you'll need to go somewhere like the feral medicine centre which is on top of your bill. Feel free to pm.

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