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Public Hospitals

  1. #1
    Peggy&Tony is offline Registered User
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    Public Hospitals

    My wife and I are expecting our first one in October and we are undecided on private vs. public. Money has some consideration but I want to know what the general feeling is?

    Could you please let me know your experience. What was bad/good? Why do people prefer private/public? Generally, public has a bad reputation, why?

    I'd appreciate your feedback.

  2. #2
    Buckeroo is offline Registered User
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    I've had experiences in both. #1 was born at the Adventist and I gave birth to #2 at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital (PYNEH). I was obviously more "comfortable" at the Adventist. I had a room all to myself, whereas at the PYNEH, I think at the time there were six of us to a ward. Care-wise, I felt more "pampered" at the Adventist, but that's not to say that the care was not good at PYNEH. In terms of breastfeeding support, what I got at PYNEH was FAR better than the breastfeeding support I got at the Adventist. For a whole month after the baby was born, I would get calls every week from a hospital staff checking up on how I and the baby were doing, how breastfeeding was coming along, etc. I never got that from the Adventist.

    Granted, I had a C-section at the Adventist and had a normal delivery at PYNEH, what we paid at PYNEH was not even 1% of what we paid at the Adventist.... and this is with my daughter having had to be in NICU for a night or two for phototherapy.


    The one thing that I didn't like so much at the public hospitals were their visiting hours (too short). It's a general perception that public hospital staff are more rude, but apart from one very militant nurse, I found all the nurses during my stay to be very polite and very helpful.

    If we are to have another one here in HK, I think I'd still opt to go public, esp. as I will be much older and there will be higher risks involved. In cases like these, even if you are admitted to private hospital, if anything goes wrong, you might end up getting sent to the public hospital anyway.

    Good luck with your choice (and congratulations!).

  3. #3
    Dink is offline Registered User
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    Hi there - I had my first baby at the Queen Mary a few weeks ago and there were good and bad points. Firstly, contrary to what you will often hear, in my experience the staff were not rude or unkind. Secondly, it was clean, including toilets and bathrooms. However, they were very very busy and I felt I got little attention which lead to me being without any kind of pain relief until after I was fully dilated - despite asking for everything they had!! Life on the ward after the birth is not fun, it is extremely noisy and very hard to get any rest with constant interruptions, and the cubicles are very cramped. Visiting hours 3 hours per day was hard for my husband. I also had to be induced so spent a good 14 hours or so in labour, in pain, and without my husband's support due to visting hours. If you go into labour spontaneously though you can just try and stay at home til you are ready to go into the delivery room though. But, I think medically the baby is in very safe hands, they would not let baby come to any harm. I don't want to be overly negative because at the end of the day I have a lovely, healthy baby so am thankful for that. But, I for one would think twice about getting pregnant in Hong Kong again unless I could go private because it was not a pleasant experience (some people have good experiences though, so maybe I was just unlucky). Good luck with whatever you decide.

  4. #4
    pinnacle is offline Registered User
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    Hi, congratulations on the pregnancy! I went to the Queen Mary for the birth of both my boys (in 2004 and 2006 respectively). I am now pregnant with my 3rd child and will be going to Queen Mary again. The reason why I went public is because we don't have private insurance. The Queen Mary is excellent in most ways that matter. The staff all speak very good English so communication is no problem. The facilities are very clean. The care they give the baby cannot be faulted. I had a birth plan and this was followed to the letter. I had an epidural with my 2nd child and again this was granted as soon as I asked for it.

    Things to note: the mother is not pampered in any way and although they are very kind and will help out with anything you need/ are having problems with, the staff are busy and will not fuss over the mother! The food is awful. You get whatever Dr/ nurse/ midwife is on duty at the time for your appointments and birth so you can't build up a personal relationship with them. (I didn't mind as they were all good) The visiting hours are strict and minimal (I think an hour at lunch time and two hours in the evening if I remember correctly). The husband may not be with his wife in the early part of labor. Only once she has dilated at least 3cm and is ready to go to the birthing room, then he is allowed to be with her from then onwards. Up until this point she is in a ward with other ladies who are in the early stages of labor. However, she may go out this ward at any time provided the monitors are not on her so you can both walk around the hospital/ go for coffee etc. as long as she "checks in" from time to time so the staff can see how labor is progressing. The total cost of a 3 night stay in hospital, the birth and a night under the lights for jaundice for my baby was less than HK$500 and we paid by octupus card (seriously!).

    I have friends who have delivered in the Matilda and they were very happy. More like a hotel than a hospital and very attentive care from what I understand. Unfortunately you pay anything from $80000 upwards for this privelage. As Buckaroo mentioned above, if anything goes seriously wrong at the private hospital then they take you to the public hospital anyway as the private hospitals don't have all the specialised equipment needed to deal with those emergencies.

    Good luck with whatever you decide and may the pregnancy be a blessing in every way!

  5. #5
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    honestly, medically-speaking public is the best. it is the public hospitals that have the emergency equipment that the private hospitals don't have.

    comfort-speaking, matilda is more like a 5* hotel. the public hospitals are more like a 1*. matilda provides gourmet food selection, private hospitals provide gruel. (however, you CAN order in from Soho delivers etc if you are at QMH).

    difference in price for a c-section:

    QMH about $500 maximum
    Matilda..... $100,000+

    i was hospitalised at QMH on MANY occasions, i quickly learnt what i needed to take with me to make my time comfortable. and didn't mind it at all.

  6. #6
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    karmah1 is offline Registered User
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    I just had my first baby at the Matilda in December and can not fault the care, support and attention that I recieved from the nursing staff. It is like a 5 star hotel and you are made to feel very comfortable. And yes the food is great. My husband was able to stay with me at all times and as we had a private room he stayed over night. I had an elective c-section and stayed for 5 nights. The only reason I went private is because I had a normal pregnancy and my employers insurance covered 90% of all my costs. I'm not sure what I would of done otherwise, but returning to Australia to give birth was an option I did consider.

    You could combine private ante-natal care and then elect to deliver at a public hospital. At least then you will see the same Dr on a regular basis and have more scans. I was scanned once a month and then every 2 weeks towards the end.

    Congratulations and good luck with your decision.

  7. #7
    hannah.e.law is offline Registered User
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    I'm 28 weeks now and doing a combination of private doctor and public hospital. I see my private doctor for an U/S every month, as it is my first and I have lots of questions and no real support network here in HK, as I am the first among my friends to give birth. And I want to be able to send my parents U/S pics of their first grandchild, as they are extremely excited as well.

    The public system, as I've experienced it, is very nice, just not personal. I don't know about delivery yet, but so far I am satisfied with the care they have given me. Just be prepared for every appointment to take time, one to two hours for the checks at the hospital itself, and at least an hour for the ones at the out-patient clinics.

    The best part of it, so far I've paid a grand total of $120 (for blood-tests and ultrasounds) versus the few thousand I've shelled out to my private doctor (at $900 a visit). And like some one else already mentioned, the stay in hospital for delivery etc, will only be a few hundred!

    I'm going to be delivering at PYNEH in May, so I'd be interested in hearing anyone's reports on how it was delivery-wise, as most people on this forum seem to have gone to QMH instead. Anything I should look out for? Especially as a first-time mom?

  8. #8
    Buckeroo is offline Registered User
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    Congratulations, Hannah on your first baby. :)

    I don't have any complaint about the delivery at PYNEH. When they admitted me, I went in requesting for Room 7 because I'd read somewhere that that's one room where you're guaranteed not to have a roommate while in labor. As that was already occupied, the nurse on duty was kind enough to get me into a labor room all by myself... and in the almost 10 hours or so that I was there, I was by myself, even though there were other ladies who were in labor at the same time. My husband was allowed in the room with me.

    I had a 2-page birth plan which they pretty much followed. Please make sure that you bring several copies with you.

    I requested that they spoke in English because I didn't want to miss out or misunderstand anything that they tell me, especially medical terms, etc. and also, hubby couldn't speak Chinese. That wasn't a problem.

    They tried to get me to sign consent forms for an episiotomy, etc., but they respected my decision to not sign until I absolutely had to.

    Pain-relief --no problem. They were quick with the epidural and I even asked for a top-up.

    I was able to hold and nurse the baby within minutes after delivery (part of my birth plan).

    One thing I'd suggest: Get a small inflatable ring (like the ones for swimming) and have it with you when you go to the hospital, if you're going to have a natural delivery. It makes such a difference sitting on one vs sitting directly on a chair after delivery. I saw all these ladies there with the rings and I didn't realize what they were for until nursing time. One lady was kind enough to lend me hers after she finished and it made sitting so much easier and more comfortable.

    Good luck, Hannah.

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