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Expat wants to have a baby in the UK...

(29 Posts)
Anjiyer Thu 21-Aug-08 11:52:57

We have just moved to Scotland from the USA and have a 3-year-old daughter. We want to have a second child as soon as we can, but are not sure how the hospital/ NHS/ medical insurance works. If we go private with the delivery etc, how expensive will it get?

kitkat9 Thu 21-Aug-08 11:56:04

I don't think there's any need to go private, when the NHS is free. Of course this depends on your area and whether you were happy with your maternity service, which I suppose you would decide once you had your booking-in appointments etc.

I don't know anyone in the UK that's gone private so can't help with rices etc, sorry

prettybird Thu 21-Aug-08 11:58:29

If you are in Scotland, I am not sure if there even is a private maternity option!

expatinscotland Thu 21-Aug-08 11:58:31

i don't know of any private hospitals in Scotland that offer maternity/delivery services.

you can get some scans privately, but other types of care such as delivery you'd probably have to go to London for.

private insurance won't cover maternity.

the NHS is not free. it's paid for through the taxes you pay.

JFly Thu 21-Aug-08 12:19:16

You are entitled to NHS care if you are resident in the UK, as far as I know, but you may have to pay for it under certain circumstances.

Presumably you are here on a visa of some sort? If you're in fulltime employment, you should be able to receive treatment without any charge. I'm an American married to a Brit and I had to register for a national insurance number at my local job centre and then get an NHS number (different) when you register with a GP. Have a look online if you have other questions. H_074374

I don't want to start an argument, but individuals who don't pay tax still receive free NHS care, expatinscotland, don't they? For instance, those on benefits don't pay tax and may never have paid tax in their lifetime. I know that's not the OP's position, but just to explain as I found that confusing when I first arrived here.

Also I believe some private insurance does indeed cover maternity, as I know individuals who have such coverage.


ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 21-Aug-08 12:21:10

If you live here legitimately you will be entitled to NHS care which will cover everything from scan to delivery and after. If you are interested contact BUPA or someone re private maternity care but you really don't need to.

expatinscotland Thu 21-Aug-08 12:23:23

Well, yes, they do, Jfly, but if you're an American living in the UK then you're hardly going to be an individual who is on benefits - unless you have ILR or are a dual national.

Some come as students, and they are entitled to NHS treatment as it is considered to be paid for out of the extra international fees they pay.

I am an American immigrant to the UK and now a dual national myself. My husband is a Scotsman.

But I have had both of my children here, soon to have no. 3 in October, so don't have any comparison to how maternity works in the US.

Like pretty, however, I don't know of any hospitals in Scotland that offer private maternity care and it may or may not be covered on private medical insurance.

I had two children in Edinburgh but this one will be born either near Glasgow or here in the Western Highlands.

sunshine185 Thu 21-Aug-08 12:24:38

i'm in london and with ds we did some of our care privately at the london portland hospital, during our antentatel classes we met lots of expat americans who went private on their work's health insurance. in the UK my husbands health insurance didn't cover maternity but in north america it did!

i would check into what is offered in terms of your insurance from the US as going private and part nhs here(if you wanted) would be more comfortable... up to you.

good luck!

prettybird Thu 21-Aug-08 12:36:40

Yes - to expand on ExpatinScotland's commnes: you can go rpivate for scans, but for delivery there is no, as far as I am aware, private provision in Scoltand.

WHen I was back in the maternity hospital shortly after ds' birth with a nasty infection (caught, we think, from one of the cats - long story), I was in the isolation room, aka the "Bugs Room" with my own toilet and bathroom. was also where they would put the "celebreties" like Carol Smillie and Anna Winona-Richardson as it was closest thing they had to a private room. They didn't know it was called the Bugs Room though! grin

This was the Queen Mother's Hospital in Glasgow.

Anjiyer Thu 21-Aug-08 12:42:39

Thanks for all the responses. Guess I will need to check with our insurance and the NHS.

expatinscotland Thu 21-Aug-08 12:46:28

At ERI, you cannot book a private room. You can at St. John's in Livingston, IIRC, but not at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

They keep them aside for csection people, mums of mulitples, mums of babies in the NICU/SCBU or mums who have complications - I had one with DD1, but only because I spiked a fever whilst waiting for a bed to come free after forceps delivery.

ViolentFemme Thu 21-Aug-08 12:49:42

LOL at slebs giving birth with us mere mortals. I had always assumed there would be a birthing ward at Ross Hall or the like. They should put up plaques on the wall...

prettybird Thu 21-Aug-08 12:50:14

I got one of the "ordinary" single rooms (which are not bookable) at the Queen Mums when ds was 36 hours old as he got bad jaundice and needed to be under lights. Like ERI, they are for those mums/babies that need them.

prettybird Thu 21-Aug-08 12:52:40

grin VF - I was very amused when I found out. The midwoves loved the fact that the slebs used the "bugs room" - and never even realised that that was why they got thier privacy. Basically, the rest of us were being protected from them wink

youcannotbeserious Thu 21-Aug-08 12:53:23

Anjiyer - Are you registered with a GP? If you are, then they will be the first place to talk through the options.

If you go private, be prepared for a bill around £10K and, AFAIK, you will need to go to London for the actual delivery. And, I think you might find it difficult to find a consultant with the right insurance to offer private ante natal cover (I couldn't find one locally, but only live 30 minutes from London, so it wasn't a deal breaker to drive in, IYSWIM)

But, do talk through your options with your GP.

AFAIK, there aren't even any residency requirements to be seen by the NHS, but not sure if that covers US nationals or just the EU?

Anjiyer Thu 21-Aug-08 15:19:56

I am registered with a GP already. We are also covered by private insurance. Will talk to both to get this clarified.

wombleprincess Thu 21-Aug-08 16:25:26

Commonly, UK private medical insurance rarely covers childbirth unless there are complications and doesnt cover maternity (scans, tests etc). however there are many different policies so check with your provider.

There is some private provision in Scotland if you wish to self pay but private provision generally outside london for maternity and birth is limited. this may, therefore, limit your options even if you are insured - eg if you are in perth you might not want to go to glasgow to give birth! Private delivery you should budget 4k with scope for complications, longer stay.

ofcourse, there is the option of a private midwife at home if that was your preference and there is pretty nationwide coverage on this but for all other care you could use the NHS.

youcannotbeserious Thu 21-Aug-08 16:48:06

Yes, your US insurance might cover maternity... but UK policies generally don't

Hope you get a the resolution you are hoping for (whatever your birth plan happens to be!)

chandellina Thu 21-Aug-08 17:41:49

some UK policies cover it - DH's AXA policy had a gold version on offer that covered something like £10k worth of maternity costs. (though we didn't take it and went through NHS, per usual.)

Anjiyer Mon 25-Aug-08 08:34:13

Have learnt that my US policy will cover maternity. Is it possible that I utilise the NHS for part of the care and the private coverage for the delivery costs etc?

Anna8888 Mon 25-Aug-08 08:37:36

My sister had two private births in London and no, she couldn't "pick'n'mix". All her antenatal care was paid for and with her obstetrician.

When she saw the far better level of care I received antenatally and for free on the NHS, she was a bit hmm about the private obstetric care she had received.

LeonieD Mon 25-Aug-08 09:02:49

Message withdrawn

expatinscotland Mon 25-Aug-08 09:28:34

I think the main issue you're going to face going private is that you will, unless they opened something up in Edinburgh - it's been nearly a year since we left, need to go to England or Wales for the birth.

As prettybird pointed out, there may not be any private hospitals that handle delivery in Scotland.

Certainly possible, but you might want to do a search on this board about private hospitals in, say, London. There are many who have gone down this route, but you may have some logistical costs which are not covered by insurance.

Also, some hospitals, depending on the trust, will not treat you there antenatally if you are going elsewhere for the delivery.

Your other option is to return to the US for delivery.

I know a couple of people who did this as they were not comfortable with how maternity care and delivery are handled here in the UK, even privately.

During the preganany with a second child, you don't get seen nearly as often as with the first unless you develop a complication.

Leonie is right, OBs don't get involved here at all unless there is a problem or complication like diabetes or hypertension or a problem occurs during delivery.

And then, you don't get to chose the OB.

I had to have a forceps delivery with DD1 and the OB consult was just whoever was there. She was fab, but I wouldn't know her from Adam and it wasn't a matter of choice.

This time round, I only saw an OB to get a referreal for my antenatal depression. All she did was talk to me about my moods and past history of post-natal and ante-natal depression and make the referral. I still have all my care with the midwives because there is nothing physically wrong with me or the baby. But this suits me and I really like the midwife who does the 3rd trimester ladies and deliveries here.

Also, if you are in Edinburgh, you only get one scan on the NHS, at 13 weeks, unless there is something wrong and even then, they will NOT tell you the baby's gender. You will need to pay privately for a 20 weeks scan, anyway.

Furthermore, again if you give birth at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, you cannot book a private room.

Horses for courses.

Like Leonie, I prefer the British attitude towards pregnancy and delivery and could never deal with what I feel is the intrusiveness of the American system on the whole, but this is true of many things there and hence the reason why it's been over 7 years since I even went there at all and naturalised as a British citizen as soon as eligible.

Anjiyer Mon 25-Aug-08 09:53:51

Thanks for all the I have a fair idea of what to expect...

MrsSnorty Mon 25-Aug-08 10:37:52

Think you have to have been resident (and paying National Insurance) in the UK for two years to be entitled to NHS care. I remember the hospital staff asking if I'd been here for that long when pregnant with DS (and I'm English!). May be wrong though. If I'm right I imagine you could still have NHS treatment but would be billed for it.

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