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19 March 2008 @ 01:45 pm
NHS paperwork  
Now I have a shiny letter with an official due date, I need to get into the system for all the joys of seeing docs and midwives and antenatal checks and booking a hospital and more peeing on a stick than I've ever dreamed of.
So I trotted down to the GP with his copy this morning, and asked the receptionist whether she could get me processed.

Cue much confusion - she suggested I had to phone tomorrow for an appt to see a doctor. It occured to me that I've already seen a doctor and he took all the details of where I'd like to be seen, etc, so I went back and asked if I really needed to see another doc so soon or if I could just get straight to the midwives - couldn't they just process all the paperwork they've already got now they can put a due date on it.

The receptionists at my surgery luckily have some brain cells and realised that clogging up a GP appointment with someone perfectly healthy is a waste of time, so went to establish if she could just give me the midwives' phone no. Someone with expertise was on the phone, so receptionist returned and we debated the merits of different venues. Turns out that while there is an antenatal clinic across the road from my house, if you go there you then have to be booked in to St Thomas's in Waterloo - right at the other end of Lambeth! Whereas if I want to go to St George's I have to also go there for all antenatal checkups - however many those are. Cue much confusion over the system and who exactly was supposed to book me into a hospital - she asked me and I just waved my arms widely and said "I don't know!"

Meanwhile the computer that registers patients when they show up died, so about 20 people were queuing for the other receptionist, including the obligatory one who was 20 minutes late so the machine wouldn't register her, only the patient didn't understand the explanation, even when the receptionist explained that because it was a child's appointment the duty doc would see them, but only as part of the walkin session so there would be a long wait.

Eventually it was decided I need to phone tomorrow and book a 'First antenatal appointment' with a doctor, which is a double appointment. I will then get everything else I need.

In the meantime, any views on where I should give birth? The main options seem to be Georges, Tommies, or Kings. I suppose even if Tommies is further away I only have to get there and back once - is that right? I don't know of any local midwife-led units attached to hospitals, which North London seemed to have lots of.  The default for my GP surgery is St Helier, but that's a) miles away and b) reputed to be shit. Although the total lack of public transport is the main factor against it.
I have no desire to give birth at home, so don't start evangelising that.
Booklecticbooklectic on March 19th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
Happy to talk about my experiences of giving birth at St George's. Summary - good hospital.
The Kumquatthekumquat on March 19th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
That's always been my impression, and I've got to know various bits of it pretty well. I think knowing where it is and my way around might be very reassuring. My friend A gave birth at Tommies and said they were great. Kings is just too hard to get to - an hour by 2 buses, whereas there's a bus from my door to Georges.

Although there was some poorly-scrubbed-off grafitti in the loo saying "St George's - Filthy and institutionally racist!" - I think I was more struck by the correct apostrophe and spelling than the sentiment!

I was impressed that the loos had cup-holders inside the toilets for people to produce urine samples easily!
Karenkaren2205 on March 19th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
Do you know about the NHS local services search? That ought to allow you to locate the other local midwife-led units.
The Kumquatthekumquat on March 19th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
According to that, the nearest midwife-led place is at the Hammersmith!

Basically it is Georges, Kings, Tommies - the Chelsea&Westminster is slightly closer than Tommies but the other side of the river and not in Lambeth.

Georges it is I think - it's not that hard to get to for antenatal checkup stuff. Just annoying that I can't use the perfectly good unit across the road - no idea why it's affiliated with Tommies which is miles away!
Karenkaren2205 on March 19th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Bah, silly NHS, that is annoying:(

It seems a bit back to front that you're having to try to work out where you want to give birth right now in order to get passed to the right antenatal team. I'd have thought you ought to be able to go on visits to all of the places you're considering to see which one feels right for you before you have to pick one, but eh, that's just me being logical and we know the NHS doesn't do that well.
trying to be happyaster13 on March 19th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)

You may well find the above a useful resource in helping you decide based on some good solid statistics. I always think that a combination of facts and personal stories is a good combination.
Ludyartremis on March 20th, 2008 10:43 am (UTC)
My mum's experence of having a baby in Streatham (back in the days when St Helier was actully rather good) is that the miles way factor is rather a probelm - she had a very short labour and i was very nearly born in the car and i did acatuly crown in the hospital lift on the way to the labour-suite! I know a lot of things have changed since then but the ease of geting from place to place in london in a hurry isn't necessaryly one of them.

It does seem a bit mad that you have to choose now. Cn you finbd out about the possiblity of water-birth in the hospital and other fluffy-hippy things like birthing-balls and massage that seem like the might be genuniely helful rather than just hippy-apeaseing?
The Kumquatthekumquat on March 20th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
Actually I need to update the post - St Helier no longer has a maternity unit - the default is Mayday in Croydon, which is even further away, apparently crap, and even its name is a cry for help!

Georges, Kings and Tommies are all large teaching hospitals with birthing pools and rather similar. The receptionist recommends Georges simply because there's a bus from my front door to it! A cab could get me there from home in 10 minutes (or 30 in the rush hour), but the others are much harder.
Run away to DreamWidth. Come with me.reddragdiva on March 22nd, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
Read all of arkadianchilde for arkady's detailed experiences of kicking NHS and midwife arse.
quatletquatlet on March 23rd, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
I have previously done so. I'd be interested in any resources on staving off PND/postnatal psychosis and was thinking about eating the placenta, probably whizzed up with orange juice rather than the classic Polish fried-with-onions method. I've never heard of her plan of making pills out of it.

I've added her to this journal's flist if she'd like to comment.
PinkSheepblonde_viki on April 15th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
Congratulations on your pregnancy from a random LJ-uk-er :)