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which hospital? lewisham/kings/st thomas'?

(28 Posts)
scgd Tue 19-Jan-10 12:47:07

Hi I'm new to mumsnet, I'm 28, have just found out I'm pregnant and now need to decide on a hospital before my doctor can refer me to a midwife. My local hospital is Lewisham but I have heard it not a great place to have a baby at. I'm looking for people's experiences at having babies at either Lewisham, Kings College, and St Thomas' Hospital and the care you recieved, both positive and negative, and just generally your overall opinion. Any feedback will be much appreciated, thanks X

katgod Tue 19-Jan-10 13:45:41

Have had 2 babies at King's, and the third will probabaly be born there too unless comes in middle of night and need to have at home. I'd think very carefully abpuut going anywhere other than your local hospital. If the magic moment of contractions 5 minutes apart happens at 5pm on a weekday, how long is it going to take you to get to King's or St Thomas's? Too long I suspect. Our local is King's, a friend chose St Thomas's a she'd worked there and knew the staff. They drove past King's at 3am and she still ended up having baby on a stretcher in A&E rather than maternity ward. They don't want you there too early, with baby 1 I was sent home as contractions had stopped. You don't go to hospital just because waters broken for example, so you may not be able to control when the right time is, and you can't just turn up because that is the best time traffic wise! Wherever you go the nurses will be overstretched, and none of them are exactly luxurious. IMHO. GOOD LUCK

crumpette Tue 19-Jan-10 17:41:12

I had DD at St Thomas's and DS at Kings. Both were excellent. Kings were happy to let me leave really soon after the birth, at St Thomas's I was automatically on the postnatal ward for 2 days which was a bit irritating. Both clean and nice. Kings were a bit more 'chilled' about the whole thing, Thomas's seemed more structured when I was in labour. (both DCs were induced btw)Thomas's has a nice flowery garden room and views...Staff at both were lovely. I'd hazard a guess that Kings may be nearer to you than Thomas's..also parking at Kings is much easier, you can park on streets at certain hours and car park and up the hill...not so easy at St Thomas's. I'd avoid Lewisham based on things I've heard from others but I have no personal experience. HTH

crumpette Tue 19-Jan-10 17:44:30

...Also Kings have much more detailed ultrasounds as fetal medicine centre is based there, and the midwives respected my wishes much more than at Thomas's where I got an awful lot of grief re choosing oral vit K.. so my vote is Kings, though as katgod says you need to bear in mind which is easiest for you to get to in the middle of the night when suddenly baby is arriving..! Good luck

holidaydreaming Tue 19-Jan-10 17:50:54


We had homebirths with both dds but were registered at Tommys so got their midwifes for ante and postnatal care.
First time(2 and a half years ago) mws and service was amazing. This time mws were nice but service was appalling as they were completely overstretched and disorganised.
Friend had lewisham recently - said it was great - plus haven't they got a new birth centre opening v soon?

Good luck

Owlingate Tue 19-Jan-10 17:58:31

Just had DC2 at Lewisham and the labour ward midwives and antenatal care were great. Postnatal average but they had breastfeeding workshop in postnatal ward and BF counsellor checked everyone. If you have any probs they have brilliant fetal medicine team. And they will refer you to other hospitals if needed (e.g. I had fetal heart scan at Guys/St Thomas' ). Their home birth team are supposed to be good too.

mumabee Tue 19-Jan-10 18:45:54


I am 23 weeks pregnant and had the same dilemma. My local hospital is Lewisham and had lots of reservations about going there. I posted for info on this thread and got some helpful advice. =2

I wanted to have a water birth at St Thomas' and GP was ok with it BUT warned me that I may not have the same access to ante-natal care/continuity like I do at my surgery. My GP's surgery works with Lewisham Hospital so all my bloods, scans are arranged through them, which has made it easier for me to stick with Lewisham. It sounded like I would have to be more pro-active about my ante-natal care at St Thomas' unlike the readily available information at my GPs where they hold clinics/workshops that I can attend with relative ease.

As for Lewisham hospital, I have been there twice for my scans and I have had very good care from the 2 sonographers that I have seen but from what I have seen and experienced (I came home in tears from my 12 week scan because of the way one of the nurses treated me), a couple of the nursing staff's attitudes leave a lot to be desired and would not like to have them looking after me or my baby.

I have opted to try for a water birth at home and hope it is possible but if it does not work out, I can be blue-lighted by ambulance into hospital quite quickly as it's less than 15 minutes away and I am in their system. Good Luck!

redllamayellowllama Tue 19-Jan-10 20:26:33

Congratuations! My local hospital is Lewisham too, but had DS at St Thomas' on the recommendation of a friend of mine who is a London Midwife. Couldn't fault the standard of care. I had lots of complications at various points and they were fantastic. We had a false start going there for the birth itself and got a taxi at 4 in the morning, which took about 15 minutes (you can't imagine how dejected we were traipsing back through Waterloo with an empty car seat after being sent home).

You need to allow more time for appointments and scans as you are factoring in the travel too, but I never minded that. There is also something quite special about giving birth with such a lovely view of London.

Am now in the very early stages of being pregnant again and made the decision to return to St. Thomas'. Maybe we'll see each other there!

Any other questions, please ask.

scgd Thu 28-Jan-10 21:27:43

Hi all sorry for late response but thanks so much to everyone with their input. have decided to go with kings as although lewisham is my 'local', kings is actually only .8 miles and an extra 5 mins travelling from there. i would love tommys but have come to realise that actually it might not be the best choice if i need to get there in rush hour traffic which would then take me about an hour instead of 25-30 mins so thanks guys xxx

MrsHoolie Thu 28-Jan-10 22:46:24

I had DD at Lewisham and I'll be having my next baby at Kings as I also get the choice.Not sure where you are but St Thomas's does seem quite a way away if you live near Lewisham.Kings seems much better than Lewisham was (so far) and they seem very pro Vbac which is important this time for me.However,it is a pain not being able to go to my local GP to see the midwife(have to go to Dulwich or Kings itself).
Think we'll get a cab when I'm in labour as when I had to park at Kings the other day I had to wait for half an hour for a space!

WingedVictory Thu 28-Jan-10 23:01:01

Hi. I had DS at Lewisham, and although antenatal care and maternity ward (DS had jaundice) were good, I and some other people I know who ave birth at Lewisham (at least 3 of us from antenatal group) had problems with stitches. I also found the gynaecologist I was referred afterwards (to deal with stitches problem) to was pretty damned useless and did not give a sh*t. Sorry to be so brutal, but was not pleased! I think I'll try for one of the other hospitals for any DC2!

MSSD Tue 25-Jan-11 23:06:08

Thank you for all this info- I too am newly preggers and very nervous as only on week 6. could not believe it when I went to the doctors and they were asking me where I would like to give birth. Things sure do move quickly. I was making the decision between Kings and Thomas's but have changed my mind with doctors already- if I change again they will hate me!Currently on to go to Kings. I live in Brixton so kings is nearer but both pretty close. Any suggestions much appreciated.

Fantail Wed 26-Jan-11 10:45:34

I am 31 weeks in to pregnancy and having my car at Lewisham. The reason we chose it is because it is a 7 minute drive from home, and if possible I want to use the new mid-wife led unit. I have had the same midwife throughout my antenatal care (at local health centre) and have had great experiences for both of my scans. I have also had a problem that has needed to be followed up and have had great care from consultants in that respect too.

I have heard bad and good stories about all 3 of the hospitals you mention, so bit of pot luck really (and unfortunately)! My husband attended a expectant fathers course at Kings on Saturday and there were some people there very unhappy with the care they had received at Kings so far.

Mahraih Wed 26-Jan-11 14:41:28

A friend of mine has just looked round the new birthing centre at Lewisham, and apparently it's lovely, and very shiny and new. Of course, if the birth isn't straightforward then you might find yourself at Lewisham proper, but the birthing centre is apparently really nice.

Just repeating what she said, if it helps!

Fantail, my DP was at that class too, and he didn't mention people having issues with Kings! I'm going to grill him, the blighter.

Fantail Wed 26-Jan-11 15:11:54

Mahraih - funny they were in the same course! I think that it was problems mentioned with scans in particular. Probably nothing major in the scheme of things, but just something he mentioned as we have had such positive experiences with ours. DH commented that the midwife commented that because a lot of the doctors are also academics, sometimes their bedside manner can be lacking.

IMHO I think that while there are some bad birth stories, I think a lot depends on your expectations and your own personaility in general. I am a pretty laid back person and don't generally get too stressed, therefore I am possibly going to overlook some things that would annoy other people. I also think it depends on your expectations of the birth itself, as my Mum has always said - "nothing nice about giving birth except for the end result" (from someone who had three forcep deliveries with gas and air only).

StuffingGoldBrass Wed 26-Jan-11 15:16:21

I had DS in Lewisham 6 years ago (so things may have changed). At the time, a paramedic friend told me that it was the 'second best maternity unit in London'. I was mostly treated well though they forgot to feed me the next day.

iskra Wed 26-Jan-11 15:19:40

MSSD - I live in Brixton too! I had a planned homebirth with DD under Kings midwives, so when we had to transfer to hospital we went into Kings. It was fine, great care, they kept us on postnatal ward for longer than I would have wanted but only because they were worried about DD possibly having an infection. Pregnant with 2nd & have booked into King's homebirth midwives again but don't mind the thought of giving birth at King's again.

splodge77 Thu 03-Feb-11 16:57:02

i had my baby at lewisham 2 weeks ago and it was brilliant. Gave birth in the birthing centre which was fantastic - a lovely calm atmosphere and amazing midwives. unfortunately i had to spend a week on the postnatal ward afterwards as i needed a blood transfusion and my baby had jaundice but couldn't fault the care we received there either. everyone was very caring and kind and we were kept fully informed about what was going on with our baby. Visiting hours are a bit strict though - partners have to leave at 8pm which i found quite hard. Would definitely recommend Lewisham though. I'm glad we had our baby there.

eastegg Thu 03-Feb-11 17:09:24

Sounds like you've made up your mind but I would just echo what was said about ease of getting there. My contractions got established pretty sharpish at 11.30pm, by the time I was seen at hosp I was just admissible as I was 4cm but if I'd had to go back home at 1 in the morning with fairly strong contractions over any sort of distance i would have cried. I had DS at Kings and it was fine.

MSSD I live in West Norwood and I am also 6 weeks PG! Might see you in Kings in Sept, if I stick with them.

MSSD Sat 02-Apr-11 15:49:18

iskra thanks for advise- very helpful , maybe you can also answer question below also- hope 2nd baby 2 is doing well- when are you due?

eastegg also - have you visited Kings or made any plans about what type of birth to have there. I have not done anything since my 12 week scan- am I meant to- This is all very new to me..... Poor baby will pop out with a mum that doesn't have a clue where she is meant to go in the hospital never mind what to do when she brings little one home. I teach so can manage teenagers- no experience with under 11's. Beginning to wonder if I am just a little to relaxed about all this!

Seynubi Sun 05-Feb-12 21:50:00

Hello all...

Interesting to read your reviews and experiences. Thanks for posting! It would be good to hear from mums who have now had their DC at either Kings or Lewisham.

Im new to area and also new to whole system in London. Im 8wks and based at a Lewisham surgery. Been pregnant before but abroad so know nothing about how it works here. (Previous DD was born 6mths prem and didnt stay with me for long)

Having read reviews about many hospitals in London, I guess it makes sense to opt for one close by. (I will be living in Ladywell quite soon).

Waiting for MW first contact to be returned.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

Congrats to all smile

ragingmull Sun 05-Feb-12 22:19:29

I had mine at Kings and it was fine. I had to stay on the ward for a couple of nights after DS was born and that was pretty grim but I think I would have hated it wherever I was, iyswim.

1st time I went in with pain I had to be examined basically in a cupboard (grin) as they were over crowded and then was sent home as was only 1cm dilated. Next time I went in (this time to actually give birth!) it was really quiet and I got a room straight away. So I recommend about 10pm on a Tuesday for going into labour wink.

But general care, midwives etc were good. Good luck smile.

snowpuma Sun 05-Feb-12 22:35:47

Although this might be unhelpful, the trouble is that everyone has such different experiences of these hospitals depending on the circumstances at the time. What I mean is, I had a great delivery at King's where the labour ward was really quiet so the midwife stayed with us the whole time and it was all very relaxed and leisurely... however one of my friends turned up when it was heaving with people and she was left in the waiting room having strong contractions because no rooms were free yet. And that was in the space of 2 weeks!

I agree with not going too far just for the sake of it or basing it on hearsay, as if you have to travel a long way while in labour it will panic you and that will not have a good effect on the progress of labour and your psychological state generally.

Good luck!

Seynubi Sun 05-Feb-12 23:35:51

Thank you both snowpuma and ragingmull ..appreciated !

Happyscotinlondon Fri 27-Jun-14 22:35:07

Thanks all St Thomas are taking referrals for those not in the borough so all booked now

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