I don’t know if you have seen recently, but there is a programme on BBC2 called 5 star Babies: Inside The Portland Hospital, which follows the lives of women and their families that choose to have their babies at The Portland in London.
For those that haven’t seen, The Portland is an exclusive private maternity hospital which has cared for the likes of Victoria and David Beckham with their son Brooklyn. It is very popular with royalty from around the world and boasts a hotel experience along side the safe delivery of your baby. This sounds great, right? I’d LOVE room service and a suite once my baby is born, right?
Well, I suppose yes, I would like those things.
The cost of a birth in this hospital begins at around £5000+ and increases depending on the circumstances, its £900+ for an epidural and you’re charged depending on which consultant you choose. There is a hefty minimum £1200 per night fee for your room, rising to just under £2200, which would make it one of the most expensive hotels I’ve seen!
What really doesn’t sit well with me, and many other midwives, is the fact your child is looked after whenever you want, so that you go home feeling refreshed. If you chose to bottle feed your baby, then there is the chance you may not see them from delivery to discharge if you didn’t want to. What about those precious hours of bonding? What about the time you spend together as a new, or newly increased, family and those early memories that you treasure for the rest of your lives? Does money mean you are denied those chances with the glossy promotion that you get a “hotel” stay instead?
It seems such a shame that at a point in time when the NHS is getting such a battering that there are programs like this showing the archaic practises of nursery nurses for over-night care, promoting it as a bonus. Something that if the NHS could provide, would bring the maternity services into financial difficulty.
The NHS does its best. But there are some things that they do THE best.
Skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, homebirths, low risk birth centres focusing on a “home from home” and water births – to name just a few. These are things that cost nothing or are priceless in how beneficial they are. Having one-to-one care in labour with a midwife, regular antenatal appointments, postnatal care and all of the screening tests women are offered, these, on the NHS, cost nothing to the patient. Why pay for something that is at the peak of evidence-based-practice already? No one will deny you a caesarean if you need one, and with NICE guidelines stating you can request one anyway, why fork out?
Having said that, having an elective caesarean because you can afford to, doesn’t mean that you should!
Money also doesn’t mean you get the best evidence-based care, clearly, as rooming-in and uninterrupted skin-to-skin seem a complete polar opposite to having a full night’s sleep and making sure the baby is washed and dry before the first hold.
What do you think? If you had the money, would you do it?
If you fancy leaving comment, please do, they always make my day!