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Which public hospital for new expats living in Sai Kung?

  1. #1
    HKCB is offline Registered User
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    Which public hospital for new expats living in Sai Kung?

    Hi all,
    I am coming up 12wks pregnant and feel the need to start making a decision on hospitals. We live in Sai Kung and don't yet have a car but are more than happy to taxi anywhere.

    Can anyone suggest which public hospital to deliver at, for a first time English expat mum that is very nervous, especially about going public!

    Cheers,
    Newbie

  2. #2
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    newbie, welcome to hong kong and to sai kung.

    AFAIK the hospital that covers sai kung is Prince of Wales in shatin. best thing to do is to call them and ask.

    going public is not the worst thing that could happen. i've had 2 kids in hk, both through the public system and while my stay was not luxurious, my kids are happy and healthy and that's what matters to me.

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    charade is offline Registered User
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    HKCB, my understanding is that in the public system you fall into a catchment area depending on where you live. You may be asked to furnish proof of residence. Some public hospitals may be less strict about this than others. I have heard Queen Mary is the strictest - and this is the one that most expats want to deliver in as it might be the most English-speaking and expat-friendly. If you really want to go to one hospital over another, you could try getting a reference from a private doctor that states that you have a condition that requires you to be in a teaching hospital.

    I delivered in United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong. The check-ups were in Hang Hau. You might just fall into that catchment area as well and could consider it from the point of view of convenience of doing the check-ups. I just realised that I could have decided to deliver at Queen Elizabeth as well. I think Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales might be better hospitals than United Christian, being bigger and teaching hospitals with more experienced staff.

    Regarding English-speaking, that is not a major concern. You may find a problem speaking English over the phone but in person the nursing staff can all speak English, even in the Hang Hau clinic where I was often the only foreigner among like 100 women. And of course, the doctors are fluent in English too. My delivery was pretty much handled by midwives who were great, with their English and their coaching skills. The doctor who came in to see me about three times was a complete asshole but luckily I saw her only once during the delivery. You can read about my experience by searching United Christian Hospital on this forum. My main grouse would be that I could not secure an epidural...I think it's very much up to the whims and fancies of the doc on call.

    In terms of antenatal care, I found the public system very good and the approach of the doctors pragmatic. In fact, I stopped going to a private doctor in the third trimester.

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    prone_to_wander is offline Registered User
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    Just a heads up that Prince of Wales isn't letting fathers in the delivery room except for 10 minutes before the baby is born.

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    HKCB is offline Registered User
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    Thanks all for the speedy replies. I have now narrowed it down to (public) Prince of Wales or (Private) Union Hospital.

    Any big for or against these two hospitals?

    Cheers
    HKCB

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    banane76 is offline Registered User
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    I was pretty happy with my public experience as well. I went to QMH though. I've heard good things about POW. I didn't know about the fathers in the delivery room only 10min before though....maybe you should double check that with the hospital. We were put into delivery side when I was 3cm dilated. Fathers couldn't be with you unless it was visiting hours otherwise. They could wait outside in the waiting area and you could go out there to see them until they moved you to the delivery side. Every hospital is different, but it doesn't seem right that he couldn't be with you 10min before your baby arrives.

  7. #7
    charade is offline Registered User
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    You'd think the Hospital Authority would have a uniform policy across it's hospitals. In United Christian they have a big notice up saying they allow 1 accompanying person and brochure on the medical benefit of having that someone around during labour. As Banane said, dads are allowed in when you're in what they consider active labour. My husband was with me for a good eight hours... Check with Prince of Wales again. I would definitely make having your husband around a priority in choosing a hospital especially if you're a first time mum. My husband was a huuuge support, not to mention that it is great for dads to witness what you go through to get the baby out.

  8. #8
    ozmerc is offline Registered User
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    I faced the same decision some months ago when I got pregnant. I'm also in the PWH catchment area. There are pros and cons to both. Basically, if you don't have insurance be prepared to pay up to $100K to deliver at Union (doc fees + hospital charges). If this is not an option then you will have to stick with PWH.

    Assuming that it is an option, here are a list of my pros/cons for each, based on my research:

    PWH:
    * Very cheap for HKID holders
    * Long waits for appointments
    * Language barrier (not with docs but with other staff)
    * Teaching hospital, has a high level NICU
    * Don't have continuity of care with one doctor
    * Fathers severely restricted, especially as of late. Visitors restricted.
    * Shared ward/bathrooms
    * Allows baby rooming in
    * Mandate to encourage breastfeeding
    * Were willing to take into account and discuss my birth plan

    Union:
    * Can choose a private room - at a high price
    * Can choose any doctor willing to deliver at Union
    * Have a lot more freedom to make choices about my birth plan (sympathetic doc extremely important for this).
    * Fathers have unlimited access for private room and can stay overnight. Visitors anytime.
    * Does not allow baby rooming in IF you have shared room - assume all babies will go to nursery. Allows rooming in for private room patients.
    * Have some rather strange 'rules' like private room patients must hire a nanny, and if the baby leaves your room during the day it can't come back in and must go to the nursery. Just ignore those - they won't enforce them.
    * No mandate to encourage breastfeeding
    * High c-sect rate (again, this depends on choosing the right doctor)

    I registered at PWH just in case and split my care between public/private/midwife. My eventual decision was to go with Union unless I had complications or went into labour before 37 weeks. I'm 36 weeks now with no complications so Union it likely is.

    Hope that helps.

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