Of the HCA private hospitals in London, the internationally renowned Portland Hospital for Women and Children is the only fully-private maternity hospital in London. Many of the Portland’s midwives and consultants hold senior positions at the top NHS hospitals of London. 1,949 babies were delivered at the Portland in 2012.
This hospital empowers women, allowing them to choose how to give birth. 51 percent of deliveries were by Caesarean section, twice the national average. It’s easier to have an epidural at a private hospital than on the NHS. At NHS hospitals, there will probably be only one resident anaesthetist, who may be a trainee. At the Portland, there’s 24-hour cover.
Both ante- and post-natal classes are given to prepare you for childbirth and its aftermath, which can be educational or for exercise. Tours for prospective patients are held three days a week.
At the Portland, there’s an average of three or four patients to every nurse. There is one-to-one care throughout labour. Deliveries can be led by midwives. There’s a neo-natal intensive care unit, a special care baby unit, a transitional care unit, a high-dependency unit for adults and a birthing pool. Patients can be transferred to the Princess Grace hospital for intensive care, although this didn’t occur in 2012.
Lactation consultants can provide advice on breast-feeding, although mothers have been pleased to not face the pressure to breast feed seen at NHS hospitals. It’s possible to surrender your baby to a nurse for a night for care. Entire families can stay in adjoining rooms.
There is 24-hour room service. More frivolous benefits are photography, a birth announcement in the Times and personal shopping services. The most popular foods for mothers are clear chicken broth, jello and poached salmon, while mothers speak highly of the fresh mint tea. The wine list is respectable, and champagne is kept on ice for celebrations.
It has been speculated that when the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, gives birth, it will be at the Portland. Dr Marcus Setchell, the foremost obstetrician in London, was seen emerging from the King Edward hospital, where Kate was staying. He served as the Queen’s surgeon and gynaecologist from 1990 to 2008, and performed a hysterectomy for Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were born at the Portland.
Other celebrity mothers to pass through the Portland are Victoria Beckham, Elizabeth Hurley, Jodie Kidd, Jennifer Saunders and Claudia Schiffer.