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Due in December need help deciding on hospital in SE London(26 Posts)
This is my first post on mumsnet. After years of trying we just had a successful IVF cycle and I am 9 weeks today. I now need to refer myself to a hospital but I can't decide...we are moving to a new house in two weeks in Lewisham / Blackheath. What is the best option there? I know Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth are close ....would St. Thomas be too far/ not practical when your due date is near? Any experience with Lewisham/ Queen E?
Avoid Lewisham - id rather give birth in a ditch than have a baby there again. If we hadn't have moved there would not have been a DS. My birth with DD was a catalogue of errors from start to finish, complaint upheld. Post natal care is non existent. I would go into detail but I would be here all day.
Kings is a good option depending on where you move to.
I second Womble regarding Lewisham. I’m under their care at the moment and it has been poor to say the least. Nobody listens to a word you say. I feel like I’ve done nothing but repeat myself on every visit.
I’m moving away soon to a different hospital (thank God) Even the information regarding transferring has been different depending on which consultant I’ve spoken to.
I just had to move away from Kings as have left London. They offer 3 scans there as routine and have top researchers there etc. Felt very cared for . Didn't experience giving birth there but fantastic care in the run-up
(Speaking as a midwife here, not as a mum - my DCs weren't born in London) St Georges is very good. A little further for you than Kings, but I'd say still do-able. One of the lowest emergency c-section rates in the country, if that factors into your decision.
St Thomas' would also be feasible for you from Lewisham, and is another excellent hospital. It did very well in its last CQC inspection.
King's, Tommys, and Georges all also have Level 3 NICUs, if (God forbid) your baby needed any intensive care after the birth. Lewisham has a Level 2 NICU, which means they can treat most unwell babies, but the most severely unwell might need to be transferred to another hospital. Not what you want to think about, I realise, but worth bearing in mind.
Have you had a look at this site? www.which.co.uk/birth-choice/units/london
Kings, if you can get in. The antenatal ultrasound dept is world-class. Tommy’s is too far, I think - especially if you will need to get over there for all of your mw appointments. It can take an hour to get over there, depending on where exactly you are in Lewisham.
Lewisham - St George’s is 1hr+!!
Depends where in Lewisham OP lives, and whether she'll be driving or using public transport. In non-rush-hour traffic it's about 45 mins, which outside of London is often quite normal.
Anyway, I was just trying to give the OP alternative options to KCH in case she wanted more than one recommendation ;)
Thank you all for your responses. We do have a car but my husband is terrified by the idea of driving while I am in labour, I think he just saw too many films about that...that's why he is all for Lewisham which is 7 minute drive away according to google maps. King's would be around 30 mins I think St George would be 50 ish as we tried to go to tooting the other day....I was checking King's website and the postcodes covered doesn't include ours but it says that they would consider applications....Do you think it's worth trying? How likely is it they will accept....We are just trying to minimize any drama as IVF was dramatic enough
And thanks for your insight GilligansKitchenIsla
I had my son at Lewisham and it was OK. Not a fun experience but not enough to put me off going back if we have another. Mind you we llive about three streets away so the convenience probably outweighed some negatives!
I've heard good things about Kings and Tommys, anecdotally.
I've had a really good experience at Lewisham so far - due in Sept.
I have had extra scans and cervical cerclage which meant a stay on the labour ward and felt very well looked after throughout. Midwives also very responsive (albeit I am in the Poppie study so have a named one I can text - not sure if same for everyone).
They have made quite a few changes over last few years so improved I have heard - they also have a midwife led birthing centre on site which is appealing.
I have heard lots of good stories about Lewisham funnily enough. There is a birthing centre there. QE is meant to be good for the birth but not great with the aftercare on the ward so only good if you have a simple birth and no additional needs - such as CS. I live in the area but had to go to Epsom for my two (long story) but most of my friends have had theirs in Lewisham or QE and been fine.
We opted for St Thomas’. It is a reasonable drive away from Blackheath/Lewisham but we had excellent care there for our DC after complications.
Post-natal aftercare for me was very poor as the ward was so busy, but I gather this is the case in many hospitals (friends who went to QE and Lewisham found the same).
I think St Thomas’ does have suites on the private ward too following delivery if that is an option.
I had a really, really positive experience at Lewisham (MLU then labour ward) eight months ago, and very good care throughout my pregnancy. Lewisham has changed a lot over the last few years (since the MLU opened), so it's worth seeking out people's recent experiences imo. Among my two antenatal groups (so 15 or so women?) 10 went to Lewisham and eight were very positive about it.
I was given the option of kings or Lewisham as I lived right between the two. I opted for kings and had a great experience. I developed pre-eclampsia but It was so fantastically managed and I felt under such expert care it genuinely never crossed my mind that I was in a life threatening situation until months after the birth when someone mentioned it.
That was 3 years ago. Don't know if it is still the case but back then Lewisham offered community midwives who would do all your routine antenatal appts at home, which kings didn't, so you had to travel to the hospital every time (weekly and then every other day in the last month in my case due to the pre-e) I know you are focussed on the birth now but do bear that in mind. For me it was convenient to hop on a quick train from my office to Denmark hill for kings and back again, but will that be easy for you, especially in the later stages?
I had a good experience at Lewisham - I had several consultant referals but in the end a very straightforward delivery in their labour ward.
It was important to me to choose the closest hospital geographically - as it happens I ended up back there a few times after being discharged and it would have been a nightmare getting to Tommy's or QE in the snow with a newborn.
Very fair point, Gilligan.
OP, to echo pps’ advice I would investigate arrangements for antenatal appointments and think carefully about convenience and accessibility. Then consider the worst case traffic scenario for when you are in labour, especially if you were to be sent home for not yet being far enough along.
There’s a lot to be said for staying local. Friends of mine have had excellent experiences at the Lewisham MLU.
PS it is worth posting on the family room section of the east dulwich forum. You will certainly find women with recent experience of Kings and Tommy’s, and probably also of Lewisham.
I had my baby at Lewisham nearly two years ago. The community midwives were great and although I saw quite a few throughout my pregnancy I always had a mobile number I could text/call if I needed anything.
I had a planned c-section which went well and I can't fault the care of the doctors/midwives during surgery, however post-natal care was pretty appalling. I understand they are incredibly busy but I felt like an inconvenience.
I agree with some of the previous posters - think about what is best for you geographically. I was a 7 minute drive from the hospital which, when I was told I had a condition which meant I had to get to the antenatal ward in 10 minutes if I went into labour, became the most important factor in choosing a hospital.
I had a great experience at QE last year, but was a fairly simple case (in and out of the birth centre in c.12 hours total). Would totally recommend it if you're low risk. It's my closest hospital and I didn't want to have to travel far while in labour, although did consider looking at St Thomas' as I work nearby. Friends who had to stay for postnatal care @ QE didn't have as good an experience (but neither did those at Lewisham).
The birth centre at Lewisham is lovely. I had my first there, and it was a very calm experience. For my second, we used Lewisham's home birth team which was AMAZING. All my postnatal appointments were in my bed or on my sofa and the breastfeeding help was great.
Lewisham! I've had two children there (4 and 2) and am currently under their care with my third baby.
There's a very strong team of obs and gynea doctors, midwives are wonderful and their birthing centre is fantastic. They have a helpful and accessible EPAU and the two midwives there, Shirley and Gloria, are worth their weight in gold. I've had high risk pregnancies and have given birth on the labour ward both times. I wanted active labour and that was encouraged.
Post mat care is far from great anywhere you go.
St George's is definitely too far away from you. I've lived in Lewisham/Blackheath and Wimbledon areas and it would never have even occurred to me to consider St George's when living in Lewisham.
Kings is excellent too but Lewisham will always have my vote.
I would go for the closest. Convenience is under your control the rest is not. I had a terrible experience all the way through at St George's and ok at King's. Post natal ward was over crowded and confused in both places. A lot is luck / who you get on the day / how your pregnancy and birth are. I would avoid hospital mw appointments if at all possible - I often had to wait hours -kings - they are just so busy community midwives seem a little bit more able to run time.
I had a complicated pregnancy under the care of Lewisham a couple of years ago. I found their ante-natal care very very good. The pregnancy was complicated for a number of reasons, but I always saw somebody when I needed to, could text when I needed to. I've had two sections there - one emergency, then one planned - and I felt well looked after throughout. Lewisham was my local hospital first time, but we'd moved by the second, and I referred myself back to them by choice.
Postnatal care is horrendous,but I think nowhere is great for that, talking to my friends who have given birth in other SE London hospitals (Kings, St Thomas, QEW, PRU.)
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