I had a baby recently and went private. My consultant was on holidays when I went into labour, but another consultant obstetrician was supposed to be covering for him. However, no consultant attended the birth of my baby and the in-house doctor did my stitches. There was plenty of time - I was admitted to the hospital in established labour 8 hours before I actually delivered.
When my consultant met me subsequently (when he was back from holidays) I asked him why his replacement hadn't shown up and he checked the chart and said that the midwives had phoned him but that he mustn't have showed up because everything was going fine. I was exhausted and elated so I didn't question him further at the time but I now this what he said is bull. From looking into it since, it seems that it is the norm for the consultant's fee to include attendance at the birth. I've already paid in full but am now annoyed that I've paid for "a service" that I didn't get.
I am going to query this with him again but I would be interested if anyone has come across anything like this before - I would welcome your opinions!
My consultant was away also when I gave birth and another consultant provided cover. I saw very little of him during the labour and he wasn't present for actual birth - however he did call in when the birth was imminent and said he had another lady next door that he was attending to. All was progressing fine with me, no complications or causes for concern and it was my second child. I had no problem really with that, I knew i was in safe hands with the midwives and I have no reason not to believe that he was with another patient and for whatever reason that was a priority. I suppose yeah, when you are going private you do expect the consultant to be present - but I knew that he was very nearby if needed.
I would have a problem with an in-house doctor doing the stitches. The consultant should have done them (and did in my case) - I think you should certainly raise this issue. I also think that the replacement should have at least checked in on you on a few occasions - and not showing up is a bit much really. It's all fine when everything ends well, but the fees are huge and you're paying for a service that you certainly did not receive.
I have had 2 babies and wasn't private on either- just couldn't justify the cost. A consultant is rarely needed at a normal birth- midwives generally do all the work and the consultant pops his/ her head in at the end- so I've been told by several people. The only thing that would have swayed me is that if I happened to have a bad tear, a consultant would do the stitches. Most doctors would be fine but depending on when you have your baby and rotations in hospitals you could have a doctor with less experience than others. I guess you would be unlucky for that to happen but I would expect a consultant to do the stitching. Then again if you are only talking 2 or 3 stitches then probably little difference.
However, I would query that I think particularly if it is bothering you.
Thanks so much for all the quick replies.
Anne Cordelia Shirley
I would not be happy with that service. I've gone private twice. On my last pregnancy I was told when booking in that my consultant would be on holidays when I would be 36/37/38 weeks approximately but I was happy to go with her and take the chance. When she was on holidays I was under a different consultant who I had a couple of antenatal appointments with and I remember him specifically saying that if I went into labour, he'd be the one called in - there was no suggestion that he'd just see how things went and monitor by phone, his words were something like 'I'll be coming in to deal with you'.
In the end I delivered by c section with my consultant, who, incidentally, came back from a weekend away (on a Friday afternoon) to deliver my baby. Couldn't have asked for better service, and she was in on the Saturday and Sunday to check everything was ok. I feel when you're paying the fees to go private, that's the service you should expect and get. If there was no consultant around to stitch me up after a vaginal delivery, and I found out the consultant who was supposed to be taking over my care hadn't even bothered to come in, I wouldn't be too happy. At the least I'd write a formal complaint letter to my original consultant.
If private any surgical work is meant to be completed by a consultant as far as I know. When I had DD and was getting the epidural they had to wait for the consultant anaethetist as I was a private patient according to the midwife.
My consultant came in at 2am to deliver my dd and then did the stitches and went off home again. While its not a given that the consultant will deliver the baby you'd expect that they would do the stitches. Your consultant or his replacement should have done the stitches. I'd be raging and most certainly querying this.
If we have another baby we won't be able to afford to go private again and the stitches amongst other things is what worries me. I'd be terrified of being stitched by an in house dr. Some are just starting rotation and not as experienced as others. So while you might get an experienced one, you also might not! A girl I used to work with was stitched wrongly and had to have an operation to fix the 'bad job'. She ended up suing for a large sum but the trauma of the whole ordeal!! I'd put it in writing to the consultant and I'd expect some money back. You paid for a service you only half got!
if there is actually a mention on your bill of a charge for the consultant being present at ur birth and he wasn't then I wouldn't pay that fee, pay the rest by alll means but don't pay for something you didn't get. Perhaps the consultant didn't need to be there that's all well and good but they shouldn't charge for being there if they weren't there!
I would not have been happy had this been me. I went private, my consultant was away from 37-39 weeks and I went to see his replacement consultant twice during that time. He would have delivered my baby had I gone early.
I absolutely needed a consultant at my birth. My own consultant was phoned at 5am on a Saturday morning and tended to me all day, checking in on me every hour, and then stayed with me once I was fully dialted. He didn't just 'pop in'. He was the one who actually delivered my baby, not a midwife. He also did the stitching.
I would seriously question why the replacement consultant didn't show up.