Kingston Hospital Trust and St George’s Hospital Trust in Tooting are both rated ‘Good’
It’s a magical moment that changes the lives of parents forever, and expectant couples in South West London are lucky to have good maternity wards nearby.
Both Kingston Hospital Trust and St George’s Hospital Trust in Tooting are rated ‘Good’ for their maternity services and score highly in the most recent patient surveys conducted by the Care Quality Commission and the NHS.
But if you’re more concerned about having a natural birth, or ensuring skin to skin contact with your newborn you may want to look at the figures below for the best ward for you.
Labour and birth
Both trusts scored highly in this category, but Kingston Hospital just edged it scoring 9.0/10 overall compared to 8.8 at St George’s.
Kingston was praised for providing pregnant women with advice at the start of labour, scoring 9.3/10 for this category. So if you’re a first-time parent, or nervous about the experience, it might be worth considering Kingston Hospital.
St George’s stood out for encouraging skin to skin contact shortly after birth, scoring an impressive 9.8/10.
The maternity team at both hospitals were praised for being attentive during labour and birth. Kingston scored 8.7/10 overall, with St George’s close behind at 8.6/10. Although St George’s scored slightly lower for women not being left alone by midwives or doctors at a time when it worried them, achieving 7.3/10.
Care in hospital after the birth
This was the worst scoring category for both trusts, with Kingston scoring 7.7/10 compared to 7.4/10 at St. George’s. Delays in discharge were the main reason for bringing the scores down, with St George’s receiving just 4.7/10 and Kingston not faring much better with 6.2/10.
Maternity units at both of the trusts are rated as Good by the CQC, although these reports have not been updated since 2016.
Kingston was praised for taking the individual needs of women into account, and offering compassionate care and emotional support from staff.
However, the report noted that while additional midwives had been recruited and could be deployed if the unit became busy, there was some pressure on bed capacity.
The community midwife service was also operating well, but nearing full capacity.
The CQC highlighted that St George’s had “excellent access to specialist midwives” to give all pregnant women access to the right services for their needs.
The trust was also involved in innovative work around home monitoring of high blood pressure during pregnancy using a mobile phone app.
There was also “outstanding performance” in relation to supporting women who had pregnancy loss.
However, the report noted that not all women received continuity of care from midwives and that leadership in the unit required improvement as some midwives felt their concerns about the management of the service were not listened to at executive or board level.
Both trusts have midwife-led units for those hoping to have a more natural and relaxing birth, as well as the usual delivery suites.
At Kingston Hospital this is known as the Malden Suite. Women can plan to give birth here if they have a healthy pregnancy, a normal delivery is planned and birth happens on its own after 37 weeks. Mum’s-to-be don’t need to book and can make the decision at the start of labour.
There are four birthing rooms and two pools for labour and birth, as well as three postnatal beds. The unit provides birthing stools, cub stool, bean bags, floor mats and birthing balls to support active labour.
But if things don’t go according to plan, it is just a short distance from the labour ward and theatres.
St George’s has similar support at the Carmen Midwifery-Led Birth Centre, for those who would rather avoid medical interventions and give birth naturally.
The suite contains four birth rooms, including two with pools and en suite bathrooms. They also provide one to one care from a midwife who will support you during labour as well as birthing balls and a Multitrac partner seat.
Once again, if you have any concerns or decide you want an epidural, it is close to the main delivery suite, where Obstetric Doctors, Midwives, Anaesthetists and Paediatricians are based.
Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter
September 30, 2019