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Can I choose my hospital?

(22 Posts)
ExPresidents Mon 24-Apr-17 11:43:53

I live in a town which is equidistant from two hospitals, hospital A and hospital B. The town I live in is also on the border of two counties, Hospital A is in County 1, Hospital B is in County 2. My town is in County 2.

When I had my first baby you could choose between the two. Hospital A had better reviews both online and from local word of mouth, it also happens to be 2 minutes from my parents home, so I chose to go there. However, I had a complicated labour and ended up being taken from the midwife’s office to Hospital B in an ambulance. I was booked in at Hospital A, but they wouldn’t take me there, the reasons weren’t very clear. So I ended up at Hospital B, where I had a really awful experience, largely due to the horrendous postnatal care. I really really don’t want to end up there again.

So I am now pregnant with DC2. However, Hospital A has recently stopped accepting referrals from patients living in County 2. I really would prefer to go to Hospital A, partly due to my previous experience and also due to my parents being nearby, and them being available to care for DC1 while I’m in.

Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I insist on being referred to the hospital of my choice?

SlB09 Mon 24-Apr-17 11:46:11

Simply yes, you have the right to a choice of your place of birth

Cammysmoma Mon 24-Apr-17 11:46:20

When you go into labour just go to the hospital you want and if they ask say you were closer to that one when you went into labour, they can't turn you away

2014newme Mon 24-Apr-17 11:49:18

They can turn you away! If they are full they can send you somewhere else. Happened to me, started labour at one hospital they transferred me by ambulance to another.

ExPresidents Mon 24-Apr-17 11:51:51

I have thought about just turning up, but as the two hospitals are in different counties it's a bit of a nightmare with notes - they are under different healthcare trusts so when I had to go to Hospital B last time they were having to re-do all my booking notes as they have their own systems etc, even though I obviously had my Hospital A notes with me. I worry about something being missed due to duplication, and it was a pain in the arse having to answer questions about DH's job etc while being hooked up to two different drips!

I'd rather be booked in and know I was going to Hospital A and they were expecting me, and not risk being turned away.

Batteriesallgone Mon 24-Apr-17 11:52:13

When are you due?

They can turn you away if they are full, which is more likely at peak birth times - April/May, Sep/Oct - but normally if they have space they will take you.

However this involves not turning up until you're very late on - if you turn up and you're 9cm, they're going to let you in. How was your labour last time, are you confident you can do most of it away from a birth setting?

Cammysmoma Mon 24-Apr-17 11:58:29

www.birthrights.org.uk/library/factsheets/Choice-of-Place-of-Birth.pdf

ExPresidents Mon 24-Apr-17 11:59:47

Not due til Dec. My labour last time - my waters broke but it was missed by midwives, I didn't go into labour so I got an infection 4 days later and had to be induced, ended up with an episiotomy and forceps so I am not confident about going into natural labour and just turning up, or about staying at home!

Cammysmoma Mon 24-Apr-17 12:00:23

Also they CANNOT turn you away if you're in active labour, so you wouldn't have to wait until 9cm active labour is anything from 3cm..

Batteriesallgone Mon 24-Apr-17 12:10:57

I thought it was 4cm?

And the time going from starting active labour to transition in a second labour may well be pretty quick. So accounting for the time to get to the hospital...in order to turn up confident they won't send you away it's likely you'd be quite a bit further on than 3cm.

Batteriesallgone Mon 24-Apr-17 12:11:47

Ah ok. Just read your update.

What have the midwives said? Can a special case be made due to your history?

Cammysmoma Mon 24-Apr-17 12:16:07

Sorry that was supposed to say 4cm.. embarrassing haha

BikeRunSki Mon 24-Apr-17 12:16:22

Yes. I live in Borough A, but in the countryside and about 10 miles right through the town centre to the hospital. Lots of traffic, 45 mins in good traffic.

We are on the boundary of Borough B, nearest hospital 6 miles away through countryside, not even any traffic lights. 15 mins any time of day.

Both dc were born in Hospital B.

ExPresidents Mon 24-Apr-17 12:21:28

Batteries I don't have my first contact with a Dr for 3 weeks, due to ridiculously long wait times here, they will then refer me to a midwife which will take a week absolute minimum, so I won't be able to discuss it with them for a while.

Bike that is a similar-ish situation to mine, but were Hospital B happy to take you? Currently the one I want to go to aren't accepting referrals from my county (as far as I understand it) which is the problem.

SlB09 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:42:15

I am going to a hospital in a different county and healthcare trust. Its quite simple, my midwife is linked to my GP surgery in the county I live, she completes booking paperwork for birthing hospital trust and I just take this to scans etc that are at the hospital I will give birth in. My health visitr will also be from my GP surgery and home area. They are all very used to it, it seems really common, as long as you have your booking folder they just use that as a means of communication between them. Dont worry it will be fine x

LoveMyLittleSuperhero Mon 24-Apr-17 12:52:20

I live in area A. DD was born in a hospital in Area B because I had simply heard too many horror stories about the hospital in A and couldn't face it. At my booking appointment when they asked what hospital I was going to I stated hospital B and those were the forms filled in.
My friend had horrid experiences with her dc 1&2 at hospital A, she's now pregnant with dc3 and requested hospital B because she felt she would be anxious and struggle at A, again noone complained and she was accommodated without issue.
If they are funny about you being referred to the hospital you want then see if you can go down an anxiety/mh point of view. You had a bad experience, understandably that means you don't want to return to that hospital, plus at the hospital of your choice you will have easy support from your parents. If all else fails could you stay with your parents for the end of your pregnancy and get transferred hospitals as your temporary address would then be in the catchment for the hospital of your choice?

ExPresidents Mon 24-Apr-17 13:00:17

SlB I do know that it's possible and normal in some areas, as I did the same with my first baby (although didn't end up giving birth there). My problem is they have now stopped accepting referrals from my county, and I am wondering if I can insist on being referred there.

Superhero thanks, that's what I'm hoping. I know they will take patients from my town who previously had a complicated delivery at Hospital A, as they know the history, so I'm hoping they will make an exception in my case as I had such a crap experience at Hospital B, and because of my parents being so near. I think I'm going to push that and hopefully get a referral. It will make a big difference I think as I feel anxious already at the prospect of being at Hospital B again.

PowerofThree Mon 24-Apr-17 13:11:04

I would look into this very carefully and not assume that you can go to the neighbouring county.

Where I am, the county A hospital used to take patients from County B but changes to maternity units elsewhere in county A mean that the main hospital has seen an increase in workload. So now Hospital A won't take anyone from County B and indeed I believe they transferred people already under their care, attending for scans etc to the county B hospital. The only exceptions are very complex cases where continuity of care is very important. As a result, County B is now potentially going to close to people from county C. County D's hospital meanwhile will still take people from neighbouring counties but is apparently very busy.

So basically, all the stuff about patient choice is all very well but what I see locally is that it only takes a change in the provision of staffing and services in one location to have a knock on effect on the workload of several hospitals with the result that they are not as flexible over out of area referrals as they used to be.

Batteriesallgone Mon 24-Apr-17 14:31:08

I wouldn't assume either. All sorts of reasons why you might not get the choice.

The best thing is to bring it up at every antenatal appointment and see what kind of reception you get. If you aren't due until Dec you have plenty of time to discuss it. If it is causing you stress and anxiety definitely bring that up as a reason to request your first choice of hospital.

ExPresidents Mon 24-Apr-17 15:55:07

Thanks all. I'll speak to the Dr about it at the first opportunity and see how it goes.

BikeRunSki Wed 26-Apr-17 09:02:38

Ex hospital B were more than happy to take me. I got additional appointments because the community midwife (borough A) did stuff in different weeks to the hospital midwifes, so I got both "schedules".

It's fairly standard for people from here to go to Hospital B for anything. Hospital A now no longer has a maternity unit, just a midwife led birthing suite, so people have to go to Hospital C (either by choice or get blue lighted there is labour) - about 5 miles/ up to 30 mins away in traffic-. Hospital B is becoming more and more popular!

ExPresidents Thu 18-May-17 15:34:55

Just an update for those who were kind enough to contribute - had my Dr appointment today and they have said absolutely no option to go to Hospital A, it has to be Hospital B. No choice in the matter unless I want to go much further away or go private (not an option).

Feeling pretty fed up about it but nothing I can do!

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