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Choice of hospitals in London

(11 Posts)
Walnut8 Mon 10-Aug-09 16:26:46

Help! I've just moved into Limehouse area (west of Canary Wharf) and have had my first doctor's app at 9 weeks. He basically said I have to choose a hospital to give birth in by my app next week. He mentioned the Royal London, Homerton, UCH, St Thomas (altho he said i was unlikely to get in) and the Barkantine birthing centre, but didn't give any opinions except that the Royal London was the closest. I have read some threads on these hospitals but still have no idea (except that the Royal seems unpopular & that I would end up at the Royal if anything went wrong at Barkantine). Can anyone pls help? Thank you.

designerbaby Mon 10-Aug-09 16:54:24

FWIW - I had DD1 at the Homerton...

We originally booked somewhere else but after we were referred to their foetal medicine unit after a suspected problem with DD in utero, we decided to stay as they had been so fantastic.

Game of two halved really - actual delivery team completely fantastic - supported my desire to try and avoid a CS throughout a lengthy and complicated induction, when i feel that a lot of units would have shipped me off to theatre. Great one to one care from midwives, attentive and confidence-giving consultants, and they never asked my DH to go home despite a 51 hour labour. Really can't fault that side of things. I felt cared for and supported.

Post-natal care though fairly scrappy, very little care and attention from midwives/nurses despite my being in a bit of a state and no help with breastfeeding. Discharged after 24 hours despite not really being in any fit state to go home...

I would go there again though, if it was more convenient - it's OK provided you have lots of family support afterwards IMHO.



VanillaIce Mon 10-Aug-09 17:09:45

Hi Walnut8,

I'm in Limehouse too. Your doc is right, there's no chance of getting into St Thomas's if you're out of the catchment area - it's very popular and they'll only take you if your GP argues there's a medical need for you to be there over somewhere else. We had a go and failed! The natural and nearest choice for you is indeed Royal London. Don't be too put off by some of the negative stories you find on the internet about it (people only usually leave reviews if they've had a bad experience I think). Sure, it's an old Victorian style hospital but I've had my bloods done there and my first scan (I'm 14 weeks now) and I couldn't be happier with the level of care. The sonogragher was brilliant, top-of-the-range machine and everywhere seemed very clean and friendly on the inside.

I would advise you to go on a tour, that's what we did. It's every Thursday at 5:30 (call ahead to check in case they've changed the time since I went). There were lots of couple on the tour the night we went and everyone ask lots of questions so you come out feeling rather more informed than when you went in. The midwives running the tour seemed very professional and friendly. The one down-side is that the delivery rooms are fairly small don't have bathrooms so you have to head down the corridor to find a loo, not great but not the end of the world either. As for dirty rooms with blood up the walls - (as I read on one website!) I didn't see anything to make me suspicious of that and I'm a very suspicious patient!

The Barkantine is your other option. My midwife says it's fab and she'd love to work there. In fact, living in Limehouse, we're really lucky to have access to such a top-class facility. Like giving birth in a 5-star hotel I was told. Every room has a water pool, a double bed and a plasma-screen tv! Only down-side is no epidural and I just can't make my mind up about whether I'll want one. It's clearly an awful lot nicer than the Royal but it depends on your needs.

Bottom line, don't worry about the Royal, it's really fine. Go and have a look and then make your decision.

By the way, are you with Limehouse Practice on Gill St? If so, you have all your midwife appointments there and they come from from the Royal, so if you choose to go to another hospital, you'll have to trail to that hospital for every apppointment - they won't come to you. Something to bear in mind in the later stages perhaps...

Good luck! smile

ilovegreenbeans Mon 10-Aug-09 20:31:37


I live in Limehouse too.

I gave birth to dd at the Barkantine in 2008. It was lovely and the care was fantastic. However, we were transferred to the London following her birth because of a PPH. Bit traumatic, but can't fault either place really.

I am pregnant again and have chosen to go to the London this time from the start. Like VanillaIce has said, the proximity of it was key for me, especially as I'll now have all my appointments at my surgery, and when the baby comes I'll be close to home. It's so easy to get to in the middle of the night, or even for scans, etc.

I don't want to have to go up to the Homerton from here, ditto UCH (with dd in a buggy, on the tube, etc..) and have heard the same about St. Thomas being difficult to get into.

Go on a tour so you know what to expect. You will know how you feel about it much more once you see it.

Hope this helps

eastendmummy Mon 10-Aug-09 20:41:13

I gave birth at the Royal London in Feb 08 after being transferred from the Barkantine. It was not good and it would definitely NOT be my first choice this time round. The antenatal and delivery care was good, but the post natal was terrible. Noisy, dirty, hot wards surrounded by overworked, stressed staff. It was hell. There was blood all over the floor of one of the loos - when I mentioned it to a nurse, she just told me to go up the hall to another. I had just had an ECS a few hours before so walking was nearly impossible! I discharged my self within 36 hours depsite having had a 40 hour labour followed by ECS. The Barkantine would be my first choice if I could go back there (can't due to ECS) but I have lots and lots of friends who gave birth there and had wonderful experiences. If you have a straightforward pregnancy then I would suggest that you try it. Any problems and you'll end up in the RLH anyway.

Sorry that sounds so negative, but hope it gives you some food for thought.

Good luck with your pregnancy x

VanillaIce Tue 11-Aug-09 10:08:20

Hi again - to add to what I said before, and agreeing with eastendmummy, I have also heard that post-natal is the main problem at RLH. I suppose I haven't given it too much thought as the ante-natal and delivery seem more important and I've just been telling myself that one day in the post-natal ward won't kill me, however unpleasant. It did look a bit grotty when we went on the tour, I have to admit and I didn't like the fact that the other mothers in there seemed to have their entire families gathered round the beds chatting loudly (I suppose it's a cultural thing in an area like this though) - personally I wouldn't want any visitors till I was settled back home.

Anyone know if you can pay for a private post-natal room at RLH? That might make a difference for some people.

Barkantine does sound fab - just that pesky pain-relief issue...


Walnut8 Tue 11-Aug-09 10:41:28

Hi everyone
Thanks for your replies. I would choose Barkantine in a flash except that I am a total O/C germaphobe (which seems to be accentuated with pregnancy) and I can't stomach the thought of the stories I hear about the Royal and the possibility of being transferred there! I will go on a tour there though, thanks for the suggestion VanillaIce.

Has anyone given birth at UCH? It seems nice enough from the virtual tour on the web.

Sariska Tue 11-Aug-09 11:12:48

Hi - I also gave birth at the Royal in March 08, having been transferred at transition from the Barkantine (which is fab). Couldn't fault the medical care at the Royal, which enabled me to have the unassisted delivery that looked pretty unlikely when I arrived there but, as others have said, the post-natal care was pretty dreadful and I discharged myself 10 hours after giving birth. Currently expecting no. 2 and if I were still in London I would currently be swithering about whether to go for the Barkantine again and risk the transfer to the Royal. However, if you have the chance for UCH, do you know that it, too, has a birthing centre (on-site - so no ambulance transfer)?

messylittlemonkey Tue 11-Aug-09 12:01:30

Hi there

I was just browsing pregnancy as I'm now 7+2 weeks with DC2.

I don't live in London anymore, but had my first DD by emergency caesarean at UCH. This was back in 2005 before the maternity unit moved to the swanky new building. Anyway, the staff there were great, top notch consultants and what have you. My DD had some complications shortly after birth and I was so glad of the specialist knowledge of the staff. The building itself was appalling - I had to stay in a week and couldn't wait to leave, but that wouldn't be an issue now that it has moved. Highly recommended!


shortie3 Tue 11-Aug-09 12:56:09

I had my DS1 in UCH in May 2007 and now am going to also have DC2 there.

I was also in the old building but the care was great although due to DS1 being lazy I had a emergency c-section also. The new building is great. The antenatal clinic is on the 1st floor adn the birthing centre on the 3rd. it is very clean and new! There is a birthing pool etc. I think the same facilities exist as in hospital care and theatre in case of emergencies. My midwife said it was the same as before but highly improved in a new building.

As for your 12 week scan, they have a integrated service whhere they also do your 16 week bloods. All the results are given with your scan although the appointment last 2 hours.

I could not fault the care, the minor exception was post natal the midwives were very busy but must admit I did not ask for much help. Let me know if you need more details

degroote78 Tue 11-Aug-09 15:48:15

I am currently under the care of the UCH and have had mixed experiences. You will wait about a lot as they are short staffed but generally the staff are very good there. I haven't given birth so can't comment on the labour ward unfortunately.

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