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Kingston, Epsom or St Helier? Any opinions

(24 Posts)
micegg Mon 06-Aug-07 11:26:01

Have any of you had babies at these hospitals and what were your opinions? I would like to go to Epsom but have heard its transferring to St Heliers. I dont know anything about that. I have heard mixed views about Kingston and feel a bit jittery about going there. This is my second baby (first born at St Georges) but we have since moved. Normal delivery with an epidural. Planning on another epidural!


crokky Mon 06-Aug-07 11:36:24

Had my baby at Epsom. Delivery care was first class. Post natal care appalling (very short of beds and staff). I have 6 friends who gave birth there as well and all agreed with the above.

I would just say about Epsom that I think the maternity unit is being downgraded currently and very shortly they won't be doing c sections. I would feel extremely worried about going there again as although not anticipating c section, need them to be able to do it if problems arise with natural labour.

Re St Helier, I have never been there (so please don't take offence!), but have heard the following (from a nurse there). The area/place looks manky. However, the facilities inside are extremely good and the nurse in question chose to give birth in St Helier and was very happy with it.

So from what I know, St Helier would be the best option. No experience of Kingston.

crokky Mon 06-Aug-07 11:37:39

Meant to add that a fair few transfers of mothers and babies take place from Epsom to St Helier. Best to start out at St Helier if that is the case IMHO.

Lolly68 Mon 06-Aug-07 11:45:37

I had my baby at Epsom too and agree with Crokky re post natal.

I personally would not go to St Helier but I am going on family that have been in there with operations for broken legs etc and have terrible care throughout.

flowerybeanbag Mon 06-Aug-07 11:51:02

wouldn't touch St Helier with a barge pole.
My brother crunched his toe in a removal van lift (yes I know..), was dripping blood everywhere in A & E, children running round etc, and several hours later when we left blood was still there on floor, despite me saying several times about it.
Obviously my brother does not have any horrendous diseases but still..
Maternity may be fine though.

Sarahjct Mon 06-Aug-07 12:22:44

I'm due to give birth at Epsom in January. As far as I understand, nothing is moving to St Helier until the spring at the earliest. I wouldn't touch St Helier either, not even counting the fact that it's miles away!

Epsom has just opened a new Early Preg unit - when I had my booking in a couple of weeks ago they didn't even have a phone line yet. Why would they do that if it was moving asap?

My SIL has had two children at Epsom in the last four years and found everything fine. Her youngest was in SCBU and they were wonderful.

I'm hoping it's all ok. This is my first and I'm terrified!

micegg Mon 06-Aug-07 13:41:45

Sarahjct - Easy for me to say but try not to be terririfed. I was the same but on the day I discovered a whole new side to me and coped really well. I wish you the best.

I am due in April and have already booked into Kingston anyway. I just would have preferred Epsom. I have just looked for some more info on the net and it looks as though the move is planned for next August. Also looks like the midwifery led unit is going to remain at EPsom.

crokky Mon 06-Aug-07 21:35:33

Sarahjct - don't worry about having the baby at Epsom - the delivery suite are extremely good and the midwives/doctors will look after you.

Just be aware that IF the post natal ward is busy, they may be quite short staffed. Do not feel embarrassed to ring your bell if you need something though and make sure your DH/DP or someone "useful!" is going to make maximum use of visiting hours so that you can have help and support whilst in hospital.

Visiting hours are very restricted at Epsom for anyone other than baby's father so be careful of this as well.

frascati Mon 06-Aug-07 21:37:51

I had both of my children at St Helier and actually found the maternity unit very good. I am literally 5 minutes from St Helier so was def. the best option for me.

Minicooper Tue 07-Aug-07 09:42:10

I am due to give birth at Epsom Hospital in November. So far its been good and have lots of friends who have had very good experiences there - including c-sections in last couple of weeks. Def nothing happening in terms of closing the mat dept til next year. Have friends who work at St Helier and tho area is manky, mat dept seems good - I went to their EPU months ago and they were excellent - and met quite a few mums there who said they couldn't fault it. Hope Epsom doesn't close as I'm just down the road, but should be ok for this LO at least. Good luck, Epsom ladies!

mrsrdowneyjr Tue 07-Aug-07 13:57:51

I had both my dds at epsom and will have my third baby there at the end of the year.I think it's clean and efficient and unlike everyone elso, had no probs with post-natal care. dd2 was c-section so was there for 3/4 days and staff were perfectly helpful. I've been assured that there will be no chnges to the services offered ie still performing c-sections etc until at least summer 08. St Helier is a sh** hole.

Poshpaws Tue 07-Aug-07 14:08:08

Have to disagree with the majority and agree with frascati. Had ds1 at St Helier and both antenatal and postnatal care was fantastic.

Yes, building looks a bit crap, but tbh I did not care about decor when I was in so much pain .

Had ds2 and ds3 at home with the help of the community midwives of Epsom and St Helier and have no complaints there either.

kateyourdrivingmate Thu 09-Aug-07 15:50:12

I have also said i will have my baby at Kingston. (im due dec) the scans and gyne apt have been great there. Always on time.

The only thing im disapointed about, is that you arent able to go and see the maternity unit before the labour. I would like to have been shown round first and kinda see where things are.

This is my first baby and i have to say im starting to get a bit nervous.

StarryStarryNight Thu 09-Aug-07 16:04:32


Kingston was quite neglicent in my care.

I had a fall a week before I was due, stumbled in the park when playing with DS1. I rang the midwife who said I had to go in to antenatal ward for a check up. I had my check fine, was told I was good to go home, but then the doc forgot me in a room on a diagnostics bed, and I was left on my own to try and get up, I couldnt. But as I had been left alone, I had no choice but try heave myself up, this resulted in a sharp pain, I screamed, and staff came running, called a doctor, who decided to admit me for the night. Well, at the time I didnt know that my hospital papers said I had symphesis pubis dysfunction for the last 4 months, but this surely should have ensured that the doc helped med out of bed rather than leave me and go off her shift.

I had DS2 at Kingston, he was out like a shot, labour was just 4 hours, and I was 7 cm dilated when I came to the hospital, and the last three cm opened up within 10 minutes. Midwife was great.

Again, I fault the postnatal ward. I could not move in bed, my legs were not working. I asked to see somebody, they said it was normal, and would not let me se a doc. I barely managed to walk out of hospital. I thereafter spent 3 weeks not being able to come downstairs, with really bad symphesis pubis dysfunction. Imagine being stuck in bed unable to move, with a newborn, and a 3 year old roaming the house? I couldnt even lift ds2 to the changing station, I barely had strength to hold his legs up for changing nappy.

It took half a year, and a fortune spent on chiropractor treatmens before I was able to walk normally again. The worst part? The obstetrician under Kingston hospital trust had diagnosed SPD, chose NOT to tell me, and NOT to prescribe physiotherapy early. I only got physiotherapy on the nhs after one month, when the acute inflammation was "cured" with strong meds and ice packs, and after 3 treatments physio said "sorry cant help you further. Might have to look into wheelhcair for you if it doesnt improve on its own". Even the physio said this could largely been avoided had the obstetrician who diagnosed it at 5 monhts pregnant sent me to her....

Sorry, you did not ask for a birth story, but if you have concerns about Kingston, and can go elsewhere...... GO!

CristinaTheAstonishing Thu 09-Aug-07 16:15:52

I had DD at Kingston 2.5 years ago and the prenatal care was v good, as was her treatment in NICU. I can't comment much on postnatal care for myself because I wasn't really interested in getting any help, I just wanted DD to be fine and luckily I didn't need any care for myself. I'm pg again and under Kingston, very pleased so far.

I had a baby at St Helier's 3.5 years ago. I found antenatal care quite good and the maternity unit seemed clean and up-to-date. Our baby was stillborn at 35 weeks and the care in the immediate 24 hours after was v sensitive. I chose Kingston for the next pregnancy, though, to make a fresh start and because it's closer to home.

StarryStarryNight Thu 09-Aug-07 16:30:07

Christina, we have changed the date for the kingston meet up, it is now 8pm on the 22nd of September, look out for it in the MEET UP Section

BTW, you are all welcome

Hijack over>

eleusis Thu 09-Aug-07 16:33:48

I had DD in Epsom by emergency section 4 years ago. I went in without even a consideration that I would have anything but a straightfirward vaginal birth. Ha! My impression was that the hospital was ok. Not great. Not bad. But ok. However, I do think that when things went wrong, they rose to the occassion and the care was very good. Aftercare was fine, but I paid for a private room. That unit has since been downgraded to midwives only and I would absolutely not go there because transferring to St. Helliers if anything goes wrong could take a long time.

Given the choices here, I would definately choose Kingston. I've heard good and bad stories about Kingston. But Epsom is just not prepared to cope if anything goes wrong now.

Heathcliffscathy Thu 09-Aug-07 16:38:06

i heard from a very very very very eminent midwife off the record that nhs wise in south london st heliers were the best.

would avoid kingston like the plague.

MrsMar Thu 09-Aug-07 19:05:27

Micegg - sorry to change the subject, did you have a good experience at St Georges?

ps this isn't that relevant I guess but my grandmother was in St Helier for a broken arm and it was filty, but that was about 5 years ago. I had some sub fertility problems investigated there and apart from it not being the prettiest place in the world, it was ok. Staff were very kind and seemed to know what they were doing (but I'm no expert)

micegg Thu 27-Sep-07 20:00:32

Probably too late to answer this MrsMar but yes I did have a good experience at St Georges in terms of ante natal and labour ward. The Post natal care was hit and miss and I ended up discharging myself at 10 at night. Largely because I was tired and couldnt see any benefit in staying for a second night in a 4 bedded bay.

chunkypudding Thu 27-Sep-07 20:28:00

hee hee I read title of this thread and thought you were choosing baby names for a sec! Really need some sleep....

Sarahjct Thu 27-Sep-07 20:38:45

Just read this thread again and am now totally freaked out.

eleusis where did you get your info from? Others have said that nothing will move from Epsom till next year and now you're saying it's basics only?? It makes a hell of a difference as I'm right in Epsom town centre and it's a long way to St Helier be it emergency or not.

wheelybug Thu 27-Sep-07 20:47:03

I had dd at kingston 2.5 years ago and couldn't praise them highly enough - I/dd were high risk and they not only found the problem by being over cautious but then delivered her at just the right time - possibly saving dd's life. From my experience I would fight to deliver again at Kingston (and in fact was one of my reasons for staying in teh catchment area)

HOwever, I've learnt from talking to people and reading MN that almost every hospital you'll read a horror story and a success story. At the end of the day, it depends on staffing and circumstance at the time sadly.

lulu25 Thu 27-Sep-07 20:49:03

i had my baby at kingston in january and they were great. main delivery suite, three shift changes, unexpected epidural. really really fantastic midwives and appropriate midwife/doctor balance.

aftercare was a bit crap but i think that's the same everywhere.

antenatal was also pretty good but split with another trust because i moved halfway through.

sorry to hear about other bad experiences...not dissing anyone but most of the horror stories i've heard date back a couple of years so maybe things have changed.

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