Approximately 95% of births in London take place within the National Health Service. Although the NHS does a good job, each year a large number of women rely wholly or partly on the private medical sector for one of the most important acts of their lives.
This trend can be explained by four main reasons:
1 . There are an increasing number of expatriates in London and they sometimes have expatriate health insurance covering all or part of a private maternity (the classic British medical insurance doesn’t cover private maternity costs).
2 . The absence of wealth taxes, an attractive tax environment and a relaxed social climate in the UK encourages more ‘High Net Worth Individuals’ and entrepreneurs to this country who can afford a private maternity.
3 . The fact that women are tending to give birth at an older age has significantly increased the risk of complications during childbirth: 37% of births are either induced or by caesarean section.
4 . For those moments that can be magical but unfortunately sometimes traumatic, some women prefer to choose their own midwife / obstetrician and to give birth in more comfort than the NHS can offer.
For many the ultimate place to choose for a private delivery is in the Portland Hospital. And yet … why is it that the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) chose to give birth to Prince George, future heir to the throne, in the private wing of an NHS hospital (St. Mary’s Hospital) in July?
A key reason is that NHS hospitals are well equipped for emergencies, which is not the case for private hospitals such as Portland. Another reason, perhaps equally important, is that like other NHS hospitals, St Mary’s Hospital has a “Private Maternity Wing” which allows for all the benefits of private care. This formula allows women to combine comfort with the security that only the NHS can give.
Other NHS hospitals in London with a “Private Maternity Wing” include:
– Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Hospital
– Chelsea & Westminster NHS Hospital
– University College London NHS Hospital
The advantage of choosing one of the latter options, which is significant, is the fact that these hospitals are less expensive than private ones such as the Portland.
NHS hospitals listed above actually offer many packages with different services and different rates.
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