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new to Uk, newly preg and feeling lost

(27 Posts)
Walnut8 Wed 08-Jul-09 15:03:40

I moved to the UK recently and I've just found out I'm pregnant. Im really unfamiliar with the healthcare system here and have no idea who to go and see or what to do.
We have been moving around due to work commitments but look to settle in Canary wharf area in the next month or so. Does anyone have any recs for doctors or hospitals in that area? Do I need to start making appointments now? Feeling really overwhelmed. Thanks for your help.

loveverona Wed 08-Jul-09 15:09:43

Hi Walnut8. Best bet is to make an appointment with your GP once you've registered to tell them you're pregnant. You should then be asked if you want a homebirth or hospital (they'll tell you which hospital for your area). You then phone the hospital and make your 'booking in' appointment, usually around 8 weeks pregnant. From then you get offered a dating scan around 11/12 weeks and a nuchal scan to test for Down's Syndrome and other abnormalities. This one is at around 14 weeks, but is not free in all areas of the UK, so you'll need to check. I had nuchal scans for my 1st 2 dcs in SE London and they were free, but for my third we paid £180 as it's another part of the country.

That's generally how it works I think, with the odd flunctuation depending where you live.

Hope this helps.

spicemonster Wed 08-Jul-09 15:10:15

Welcome and congratulations

I don't have any recommendations for doctors etc in your area but to sign up with a GP (doctor) and find out what your health authority is, look here

Once you have registered, they will give you a choice of hospitals to have your baby at (if that's what you want) and if not, you should talk to them about your options. If you go down the hospital route, then your antenatal care will either be done by the hospital or more usually shared care which is a bit of your GP and a bit of the midwives at the hospital (or more likely a separate antenatal unit). It's definitely worth coming back here to get perspectives on which hospitals are good. And finally sign up with your relevant antenatal thread on here and find lots of other women who are going through what you are!

arolf Wed 08-Jul-09 15:12:25

one other point - if you are not employed here, be prepared to pay for treatment... I was away from the UK for more than 6 months, so when I tried to register with a GP here, they insisted on some proof of my employment status before allowing me 'free' care - just be prepared for this!

and congratulations!

loveverona Wed 08-Jul-09 15:12:36

Sorry, congratulations!!!!

I agree with spicemonster - keep using Mumsnet. It's been fabulous for me right from early pregnancy to my now 6yr old. It can be a real lifeline, particularly if you're new to the area/country.


YanknCock Wed 08-Jul-09 15:18:54

Welcome! I moved here nearly 7 years ago, and the first six months are generally overwhelming without being pregnant, so I sympathise.

This tells you about registering with a GP when you move to England. It's based on where you live, so if you don't have an address in that area yet, it might be best to register whereever you are at them moment and then transfer.

When I did it, I just chose a GP surgery nearest my house and rang them to ask what I needed to do to register. If they aren't taking new patients, try another one. I had to go to the surgery and fill in a form, and was sent an NHS number.

Depends where you are, but you might be seen by a community midwifery team associated with your GP surgery. Start with the GP and ask them what to do, as they are meant to be the first point of contact for everything.

Good luck, and congratulations on the pregnancy.

Longtalljosie Wed 08-Jul-09 15:19:28

You may need to know where you plan to live before you register - GPs often have quite tight boundary areas.

Once you have settled, perhaps you should think about ante-natal classes with the National Childbirth Trust? They're private, not NHS (the NCT is a charity) but they're a good way of finding out what to expect in your local area - and meeting new people as well.

Longtalljosie Wed 08-Jul-09 15:20:40

Ooh sorry YanknCock - x-post!

makedoandmend Wed 08-Jul-09 15:21:36

Hi Walnut - welcome - and dont' feel overwhelmed - it will all fall into place soon!
Hell of a thing to go through though - don't envy you - I moved counties when i was 13 weeks pregant and that was bad enough.

If you have any probs with signing on with your GP for whatever reason (some need some proof of address before they'll sign you up - I had a real palavar when I moved) - give one of the local hospitals a ring in your area and go straight through to the maternity unit - explain your situation and they will help you (they turned out to be fantastic for me in the face of a right cow receptionist at the doctors' surgery). If you still don't have joy try another surgery or another hosptial in the area with a maternity unit. Or find your local midwife unit (which may be outside the hospital) and try there. Somebody will come to your rescue and tell you what to do!

Not sure where you're coming from - but sometimes the NHS just takes a while to grind into action but it is (I believe) fab (usually) when it does. You just have to get past some of the snottier, jobsworthy receptionists sometimes!

francagoestohollywood Wed 08-Jul-09 15:22:03

First thing to do is to register with a gp.
I don't think you have to pay for treatment, if you are from the EU area. I've never paid.

makedoandmend Wed 08-Jul-09 15:23:33

Oh and congratulations!

Walnut8 Wed 08-Jul-09 15:35:56

Thanks so much everyone for your replies! I don't have employment yet, basically just following my husband (and his work) around the country at the moment! I'm from Australia - does that mean I will have to pay to see a GP until I get work? Thanks once again.

audreyraines Wed 08-Jul-09 15:44:47

Hi, you shouldn't need to pay for a GP. UK (IIRC) has reciprocal arrangements with Australian medicare, so you should be able to see a NHS GP for free.

audreyraines Wed 08-Jul-09 15:49:09

oh here you go,

register with NHS

you just need to intend to permanently reside here.

ActivityApple Wed 08-Jul-09 18:04:16

Message withdrawn

happyfaces Wed 08-Jul-09 18:31:40

Hello All!

I'm also newish to the UK - having moved from Canada and am now about 11 weeks pregnant. The one MAJOR difference I noticed here is how nobody really seems that bothered that you are pregnant, in that they don't think of you as a "medical case".

When I first went to the GP, she first asked if we wanted the baby and then said "Congratulations!" and took my blood pressure and that was it. I kept asking whether she needed to confirm with a blood test or anything and she kept shaking her head saying "no, no, we believe you". LOL. I was so confused. It wasn't until I called and had my first MW appointment that I finally had the entire UK procedure explained to me. In Canada, all my friends got seen every month by a doctor, here the midwife said she would see me at 16 weeks :O

audreyraines Wed 08-Jul-09 20:17:30

Yes, it's pretty laid back unless you have a complicated pregnancy for any reason. It's generally midwife led care in the public system and the appointments are not that often until right near the end.

Also I think the NHS is too cheap to pay for pregnancy tests when we all buy them ourselves at the chemist!

Tigresswoods Wed 08-Jul-09 20:22:42

Hi Walnut8, Canary Wharf is a really cool area, I go there quite a lot. When are you due? My EDD is 1/3/2010, I'm in the March thread over in the Antenatal clubs thread. You might find some local people in that area of Mumsnet.

Walnut8 Thu 09-Jul-09 11:36:36

Thanks once again everyone. Makes me feel a bit less alone in this whole thing!

Once settled, I'll definitely check out the NCT antenatal classes.

Tigresswoods, my EDD is 10/3/2010, still so early yet but will have to look at the March thread.

Firsttimer7259 Thu 09-Jul-09 13:43:13

After registering with your GP, and this in free as long as you are legally resident in the UK. Its not related to employment status. Google 'health care entitlements adn overseas visitors' and you should get to the department of health webpages laying out the basic ground rules. Basically if you are 'ordinarily resident' in the UK you should qualify for free healthcare. The rules are supposed to put a stop to people coming here just to ahve a baby on the NHS and then leaving again. Therefore a bit confused about what happened to arolf.

Anyway I was going to say that if you need medical advice on your early pregnancy your GP can refer you to a Pregnancy Support Unit (sometimes called Early Pregnancy Units) at the local hospital. You could again google 'eaerly pregnancy Unit' and call a local one directly.

I was refered there because I had intermittent bleeding. I could call and speak to someone about symptoms etc. If they think its necessary you can get booked in for a scan. The midwives/medical staff at the one I have been dealing with are really nice and talking through the anxieties of pregnant women seems like what they want to be doing whereas at my GPs I felt I was clogging up valuable surgery time with something where the Dr coul not really make a diagnosis.

In my case the bleeding went on long enough for me to get booked in for a scan, which was free. I had the impression from my GP that the early pregnancy units are to some degree aimed at first time mothers and especially those who have little family support. I would fall into that category too.

Good luck with it. I think once you are inside the system it call gets much easier

bunnymother Thu 09-Jul-09 14:14:22

Hi Walnut, I don't have anything to add, except to say that I am Australian and just had our baby here in London. I know a few other Australian girls in the same position, so there are quite a few of us here doing it! Let me know if you have any questions about how it works etc and I will let you contact me by email (they call it CAT-ting here on Mumsnet, I think). Mumsnet has been fantastic, a real lifesaver - the antenatal threads are brilliant!

audreyraines Thu 09-Jul-09 15:54:31

Yep, there are loads of Aussie mums here - I usually meet them loitering around the one good coffee place in our area!

arolf Thu 09-Jul-09 16:17:59

firsttimer - I was confused too, but the GP receptionist definitely said (quite rudely, I might add) that although I am a UK citizen, I needed proof of my employment otherwise I would have to pay for any medical care I received in the UK - all because I had been out of the country for 9 months. Proof of residence was not enough (i.e. tenancy agreement, passport, fiance being employed here), it HAD to be a letter from my work.

Everyone I've told this to has been confused by it, so maybe the receptionist was wrong? however, I'm warning friends who are living abroad about it, just in case!

Oh, and since giving them the letter from my boss, I have had excellent treatment, so it may just have been one snotty receptionist...

Firsttimer7259 Fri 10-Jul-09 11:03:49

Hi Arolf. Really sorry about the receptionist. Sounds like a cow. I am sometimes stunned by how rude they can be - especially in London where GPs receptiopnists seem to think their job is keeping you out of the Drs surgery.

I wonder if she knew what she was doing? I dont work on immigration stuff anymore so maybe I am out of date but thats the first I ever heard about healthcare being linked to employment status. And with you being a UK citizen its not even an immigration issue. So what was going on there??

I wonder if the surgery was screening its patients, trying to get only those income/social groups least likely to take up a lot of surgery time?

Anyway, I am glad you got the treatment you needed after all.

lal123 Fri 10-Jul-09 14:51:48

arolf - sorry but the receptionist was talking rubbish - as others have said entitlement to NHS treatment is based on residency, not on employment status.

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