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The Best Public Hospital choice in Sydney

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#1 jlbutler2121

Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:21 PM

Hi, I am 5 weeks pregnant with our first baby and we didn't make the waiting period to be private in private. Our due date is 17 Oct 09 and I am considering going in as a private patient still.
Wondering what, in your opinion, is the best public hospital in Sydney to have a baby. We have considered RPA and Westmead so far but are fairly new to Sydney so don't know the reputations of these or any others. I am going to arrange a site visit to both next week.
What are your thoughts out there? Would love to here your experiences or opinions. Thanks!

#2 melaniejasmin

Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:27 PM

I spose it depends what you are after!

I used the birth centre at RPA - had no dr at all only midwife led care and loved it! they were great there. IT is busy however, but that is like all hospitals.

#3 shes-my-sunshine

Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:29 PM

i had my firt daughter at westmead she was born at 24 weeks and she recieved the best possible care i would not over look westmead. I am now 37 weeks preg and was close to pre term labour again. I have the professional care of the team of westmead to thank as i have made it this far. Although i do know if you do not live in the area or have some sort of a problem that you need to see a professional there they will get you to go to your local hospital.

#4 Nics3boys

Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:31 PM

I used Westmead public in my last two births & it was great.

It had not been renovated with my 2nd birth, but had with my 3rd.  It was lovely - Midwifes on maternity ward & my room was like a hotel.

Going through the dr's clinic was a nightmare, I always waited such a long time to see someone (3hrs once).  The midwife clinic always seemed to not keep patients waiting long, I guess there are more midwifes than Ob's.

Edited by Nics3boys, 22 February 2009 - 02:32 PM.

#5 dippinsniffer

Posted 22 February 2009 - 02:33 PM

St George is supposed to be good. I guess it also depends where you are located in Syd. Do you really want to spend 40mins in labour strapped to your car getting to the 'best' when your local is closer?

#6 jlbutler2121

Posted 22 February 2009 - 05:00 PM

Thanks for your replies so far, it has been interesting reading your thoughts. At the moment we are unsure of where we'll be living in October. At the moment we live in Pyrmont and are waiting until our property is finished in Westmead to move in, but they have not been able to give us a definitive hand over date. This is the reason for my "all encompassing" question!

#7 Fourteenyears

Posted 22 February 2009 - 05:41 PM

It is hard when you don't know where you'll be living.  

Hospitals like the RPA can no longer meet the actual demand, so they now don't take bookings once they've reached capacity or if you are outside their area - you will be told to seek out another hospital.  So if you do decide on the RPA, confirm your place there as early as possible.

FWIW, I used the RPA as a private patient.  I would rate it OK on care (they are VERY busy), dreadful on food, and moderately uncomfortable for the post natal stay.  The birthing centre there is wonderful, haven't seen the labour ward there.  I plan to be going back there to have my second child so my first experience must have been OK.   Even if I really do wish I was off to the Mater Mothers instead  happy.gif .

Edited by sassm, 23 February 2009 - 02:51 PM.

#8 PurplePaperFrog

Posted 22 February 2009 - 06:30 PM

I went to Royal North Shore as a private patient with DS and I was very happy with my care.

I had a private room with an ensuite and a bath area for the baby (you only get a private room if you are a private patient or if its medically necessary).

There is a mother's room where you can go anytime to make tea/ coffee- the fridge is always filled with sandwiches, yoghurts, juices and fruits to snack on in between meals.

I stayed 3 nights and the midwives and nurses were wonderful.

Unfortunately my OB doesn't deliver there anymore, so I'll be across the road at North Shore Private Hopsital this time around.

Good Luck with your decision.

#9 Beqa

Posted 22 February 2009 - 06:40 PM

I loved the whole RPA experience.  Wasn’t a candidate for the birth centre this time as DS1’s labour was a bit of a mess.  Was worried that in the labour ward there would be a heap of intervention, but it wasn’t like that at all.  Only had a midwife in the room.  A second midwife came in 10 minutes before the delivery.  The midwife suggested the shower, fit ball, heat packs etc for pain and kept the monitoring to a minimum as well as internals, only had two during the 11hrs.  

The rooms in the labour ward were quite large and each of them had a lounge and an ensuite which had a bath tub as well as a shower.

The post labour ward was nice, only two to a room with an ensuite.  Had the room to myself the first night.  I didn’t find them to be that busy…  Food was ok.  Midwives were lovely. original.gif

#10 4Princes

Posted 22 February 2009 - 08:36 PM


I've had bubs at both RPA and Westmead, big warning.... unless you live in either hospital's catchment you won't get in.

RPA I loved, I had fantanstic OBs, lovely nurses and my own room (emergency CS, bub in NICU and then transferred to WCH (UTI and sugar probs) so automatically got my own room).

Westmead (CS again) was pre renovation so is a bit different now but also the complete opposite, clinic was nightmare (Drs NEVER on time (sometimes 3 or 4 hours, this with a 2 year old   rant.gif)  and never saw the same person twice), 4 people to  a room (including 2 poor ladies who had a CS under general and who REALLY should have had their own room) nurses were ok, but tried to send me home before I was ready.



#11 Mianta

Posted 23 February 2009 - 09:04 AM

Do you know which hospital you are in the catchment area for? Many hospys won't accept patients from outside catchment areas and some are even knocking back patients within the catchment area.

I know nothing about RPA or Westmead although my husband's cousin had a baby at RPA and seemed quite happy.

I loved RHW in Randwick and always have. Living in Pyrmont you might be in the catchment area, don't take that as gospel though. I know the city area is a bit of a grey area. I was living in the city with my last baby and I got in there. It's worth checking, it's a great hospital. Very breastfeeding friendly and pro natural birth (with options for those who want the drugs lol) I could have also gone to RPA and RNS.

Good luck.

Edited by SleeplessinSydney, 23 February 2009 - 09:07 AM.

#12 PurplePaperFrog

Posted 23 February 2009 - 09:31 AM

I think the catchment areas only apply to the public patients, as a private patient, because you are paying (through PHI) I don't think they care where you live.

At least that's how it is at RNS.

Also experiences may differ from public patients to private as you get priority for private rooms etc..

#13 Gangnam Style

Posted 23 February 2009 - 09:42 AM

I  hheart.gif the Royal Hospital for Women (RHW), in Randwick.

#14 jlbutler2121

Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:26 PM

Thanks for the tips on RHW Randwick, I'll be adding that to my list of hospitals to visit. I'm going to book hospital site visits for RHW Randwick, RPA and Westmead Public.

I have to find out about the catchment of each - and verify if it matters or not if I plan to go in as a private patient.

So much to do, so little time! J

#15 ~*Jenn*~

Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:30 PM

Living in Pyrmont you are in RPA's catchment area.

I had my second there 6 days ago and my first there 21 months ago.

I was in as a Private patient so had my own OB, he however only arrived with about 5 mns to spare and so I had a great time the midwife (who was the same one as my first) no drugs no pushing for any intervention, I could do what I wanted.

They have opened another area for private patients at RPA which is all single rooms.  The main labour ward has a pretty high percentage of single rooms anyway.  The food was OK, but King st (a greatplace for food) is five minutes away so your partner can bring you in food.

I left after 24 hours this time and had midwife care for 4 days at home.

If you want to go the RPA birth centre or labour ward you will have to book in now.  Private patients can wait until they are 20 weeks to book in.

PM if you have any specific questions.

Good luck.

#16 KT2005

Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:36 PM

I'm another one who went to Randwick with both boys - public though, I don't believe that you can go there as a private. Can't fault my care. Always get a bit nostalgic, thinking about it!!

#17 Melissam12

Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:49 PM

Hi there,
congratulations on your pregnancy!

You might find that you have to go to the closest hospital but I'm not sure if this is different as a private patient.

The best hospital - it all depends on what sort of birth experience you're after.  I'm very pro-homebitrh because of the great outcomes for mothers and babies - is this something you have considered?  If you're healthy, it's a great option for a first baby.

If you want to go to hospital as a private patient, you're best to choose a good OB.  If you want to go as a public patient, you have many more options: caseload (where all your care in pregnancy, labour and postnatal is delivered by the same midwife), team midwifery (where all your care in pregnancy, labour and postnatal is delivered by a small group of midwives), birth centre for a natural birth in a home-like setting, or standard care.

Good luck with what you decide,

#18 rodent

Posted 23 February 2009 - 11:02 PM

My 2 and soon to be 3 were both born at Westmead.  #1 in interim birthing rooms and old ward (4 to a room), #2 in interim birthing rooms and new ward (2 to a room but there are actually more singles than doubles).  New birthing suites look awesome!  Looking forward to using one!  Can't comment on food as they don't provide kosher meals so I had to get my own food.  Drs clinic is definitely SLOOOOW (though I've had some rare quick ones), midwives seem quicker.

I think you'd be in the RPA catchment at the moment and might have to go there if you go public.  If you move to Westmead transfer then if necessary, not sure if they make you change when you move or you can stay there once booked in regardless of address.  Heard it's pretty good but more babies being born there than what it's designed for so busy and pushed through quickly.

Have heard good things about RHW in Randwick and if I lived in that area I'd be confident to have my babies there.  And at least they offer kosher food!  


#19 ~GG~

Posted 24 February 2009 - 08:51 AM

If you are after a natural birth in a lovely birth centre environment then I can highly recommend St George Public Birth Centre. The midwives are awesome and the birth centre had a 'facelift' about 18 months ago and is now a very appealing place to give birth. Can't recommend the St George BC enough  tthumbs.gif.

#20 Sloane Peterson

Posted 24 February 2009 - 04:10 PM

I don't believe that you can go there as a private

Yeah you definitely can. There are a whole bunch of obs who practice privately out of RWH. Just call up the hospital and ask for a list.

#21 newmum1010

Posted 07 March 2009 - 08:43 PM

Hi there,

I had my son at RPA 18 months ago.  I went in as a private patient with an Ob and gave birth in the labour ward.  The  labour ward is so lovely!  The rooms are really spacious and the staff were absolutely amazing.  

On the maternity ward the midwives were so helpful (especially as it was my first).  My ob visited me twice and also referred an private pead to see my son - the hospital also asked if I wanted to see the hospital pead or use a private one.

I didnt realise that these hospitals have catchment areas.  I live about 60kms from RPA and booked in at 20 weeks.  Does this apply when you are booked in as a private patient?

#22 Melissam12

Posted 07 March 2009 - 08:47 PM

Private patients can generally give bith where they like.  Public hospitals make more money through PHIs, so they don't say no to private patients.


#23 FauxPas

Posted 07 March 2009 - 09:07 PM

I stayed at Westmead in the pre-natal care until week 34 (from week 26) and found it excellent.  The midwives were lovely and Professor Trudinger (my OB) was really great.

I then transferred to Ranwick (RHW as could not go to the private Prince of Wales (my original booking) due to complications with pregnancy).  

I also loved the RHW and gave birth there (under a private OB - Dr Leader who is brilliant).  The hospital is older than Westmead (where the maternity ward is brand new) but I found it overall better for me.

All the best with the birth

#24 threeplusone

Posted 07 March 2009 - 09:15 PM

I have heard such great things about RHW public.  However my post natal stay there was pretty awful there although it was a really busy time, no spare beds etc.  However my prenatal care was great.

#25 nu-mumma

Posted 08 March 2009 - 03:23 PM

Another  tthumbs.gif for RWH Randwick. Went public though and found the midwives to be FABULOUS and the labour ward was tops too DS is now 4 years old though so I guess things can change.
Good luck with your search.

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