Lewisham Labour

How will Brockley's next generation of yummy mummies be catered for? Brockley Central went gonzo to find out...

Lewisham Hospital's Maternity Ward encapsulates much of what is good and bad about the NHS.

At first sight, it's fairly grim. On a pre-birth tour of the facilities with a host of mums, you could see smiles of first-timers drop as they inspected the rooms where they would have to undergo "the magic of childbirth". Despite being refurbished in 2003, the ward isn't pretty, the hospital is fraying at the edges and, currently, the delivery rooms overlook a building site, which means they're very noisy during the week. There's only one birthing pool, so your chances of getting in are slim.

However, the battle hardened labour-veterans, who knew the visceral truth of what lay in store, were more pragmatic.

When the reality is more Dante than Disney, you want to know: Are the rooms clean? Are the staff competent and properly resourced? Are there plenty of doctors on-hand? Is there somewhere comfortable for the dad to sit?

We're conscious that the childbirth experience is highly personal (and the greatest tragedies that have befallen our friends have happened is some of the most reputable hospitals) so we can't offer a definitive answer to any of these questions, except the last one, which is a resounding no.

In our own experience though, all of the staff were calm, professional and didn't patronise - the mother's wishes came first and the father was made to feel welcome, even when he sat in the wrong place.

The rooms are decent-enough; brighter and seemingly cleaner than the rooms to be found at Woolwich and Sidcup.

When we arrived, we were made to wait for over an hour before we could be seen, but it was clearly a very busy time for the staff who were coping with a glut of deliveries. From the point they finally got around to seeing us, we were well-attended to.

This standard of care followed us home, with regular visits from midwives, who were friendly and professional.

21 comments:

Brockley Kate said...

... and congratulations to Nick and his family on the new arrival!!!

drakefell debaser said...

Yes congratulations

The Cat Man said...

Warmest congratulations to Nick and his family.

Tressillian James said...

Nick, you went to the trouble to concieve just for a Brockley Central report - that's dedicated.

Congrats to you all.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. I had my child at Lewisham hospital and on the whole had a positive experience. One thing I would say though is that the doctor was C- section crazy and wanted us to have one after only being in labour for about 8 hours. We refused (the midwives were pleased we refused) and several hours later our little chap was born all fine. Less stubborn people may have been swayed. We had been warned by our midwife that some of the Lewisham doctors were quick to C section and my point is that some of them just see child birth as a production line ( and a medical 'issue' which it isn't).

fabhat said...

Congratulations Nick and family - definitely going above and beyond the call of duty for this review of Lewisham hospital...

patrick1971 said...

I too admire Nick's dedication in procreating just to review Lewisham Hospital.

Where could this trend lead us? Maybe one of us should get arrested so we can road test Lewisham Police Station?

Tressilliana said...

I think I admire Nick's partner's dedication even more than Nick's...

Congratulations! I had my two children at Lewisham many years ago, and I was pleased with the care I had. We're lucky to have it on our doorstep and I hope the recent review of hospital services doesn't result in a reduction of the range of services offered at Lewisham.

brockley mutha said...

congrats. Lovely news.

Curious about the woolwich and sidcup reference. Is that from personal experience of maternity services at those establishments.

Monkeyboy said...

Must admit having a baby so you can review a local hospital is beyonfd the call of duty. I may go for a kidney transplant and get back to you.

max said...

When our daughter was born we opted for home birth because:
- there's only one birthing pool at the hospital when it's so easy to fill up an inflatable pool;
- it's not an illness and when you're finished you're already at home;
- when labour starts you have a midwife present at all times but if you are in hospital due to staff shortages you will probably have only intermittent attention of staff;
- if there are complications or even just worrying signs the midwife is not going to take any risk and you'd be brought to hospital but if you choose to have a hospital birth as first options you cannot then decide to have home birth at last minute.

All went well and there were no complications so we're really glad we chose home birth.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had Eileen at the NCT.

do dah said...

Nick and family congratulations and all the more thanks for maintaining this blog along with your team.

Transpontine said...

We went for home birth too, or rather my partner did - she certainly doesn't approve of me using the 'we' word in relation to childbirth, as my contribution was rather limited! But that's very much a matter of personal choice. I can say though we have had some very good service from Lewisham Hospital's Children A&E - birth inevitably being followed by children who get ill and injured in various interesting ways.

Brockley Nick said...

Thanks everyone!

@bm - it is from personal experience, though obviously a few years ago and we didn't have a bad experience in either case, but I preferred Lewisham.

tyrwhitt michael said...

Congrats from the eastern borders of Brockley also

Sue Luxton said...

Congratulations! Boy or girl?

Let's hope the maternity unit is not closed down as proposed in the recent consultation. I wouldn't fancy trekking to Bromley or Greenwich to have a baby.

Patrick said...

We live in Brockley but went for Kings College Hospital for the birth on the basis of hearing some less than favourable birth experiences at Lewisham hospital from other local mums.

Kings is a quick train ride from Crofton Park and we had a good experience there both in terms of the staff and birthing rooms.

Richard Elliot said...

Congratulations to Nick and the family!

Anonymous said...

hurrah! many congrats Nick, that's lovely news. :-)

re Lewisham, do they do elective Caesareans?

Bea said...

Congratulations Nick and family!

Amazed you found the time to write a review. Good luck and I will try not to take it badly if your posts get less frequent as sleepless nights take their toll!

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