More on Health Visitors

(205 Posts)
Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:00:57

Any day now I will be a grandfather for the first time - my daughter-in-law was due yesterday but no signs of labour yet.

I have noticed a dew discussions on here about health visitors. Having attended child abuse case conferences in a professional capacity I would advise anyone strongly against admitting a HV to their homes. My eldest daughter, now a doctor in paediatrics, shares my view on this.

HVs are far more concerned with carrying out surveillance on mothers and babies than giving any practical help or advice. They keep detailed records not just about the child, but they make assessments of the mother and father - their perceived competence as parents etc, the cleanliness of the home and anything else that catches their interest. If you try to see these records, they will obstruct you every step of the way. My son and D-i-L are clear that they will not be admitting the HV, or allowing her to see the baby - only the GP will be allowed to perform any checks.

I have seen suggestions that admitting HVs is compulsory. That's absolute nonsense - it isn't. A refusal to admit a HV will be noted - obviously - but that's all. Without plenty of other evidence, denied access would not be anywhere near enough to warrant interest from social services, let alone give them any powers. We had three children of our own and no HV ever crossed the threshold, nor were they allowed any access to our children. Once they realised we weren't going to change our minds, they left us lone.

Basically, if you let them in, they will open a file on you and it will contain a whole lot of stuff you will never see, yet which could be used against you should they ever wish to do so.

pozzled Sat 29-Jan-11 20:06:21

In your professional capacity you are obviously dealing with HVs where there is an ongoing concern. Of course they will keep detailed notes about the family- they have a duty to ensure the child is safe and cared-for. How many times do you have reason to discuss with a HV a family where there are no concerns whatsoever? Or a family where the mother had PND which required a little bit of support but which was treated successfully with no further issues?

I'm sure there are HVs who are very judgemental about families, but I'm not convinced they are in the majority.

PaisleyLeaf Sat 29-Jan-11 20:10:52

Can't do right for doing wrong can they?
When things go wrong everyone wonders how the child could have slipped through the net.

Anyway where I am we're so short of HVs if I want to see one I have to do the running.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:13:02

In most of the families concerned there was indeed an "ongoing concern" - but not all, and that's what really worried me.

I recall the amount of data collected on a local solicitor who had been unexpectedly arrested on suspicion of viewing child porn, and the HV said she had not been to the family home since his arrest. She was open about the fact that she had previously thought the family was "perfect" in every respect, but that hadn't stopped her compiling copious notes on all manner of stuff, including that the child was being "breathed on" by a grandparent who "smelled of cigarette smoke". That is unwarranted surveillance - it is data capture on the off-chance that it will one day come in useful. It turned out that the solicitor had not been viewing child porn.

I can cite countless other examples.

rubyslippers Sat 29-Jan-11 20:13:42

Thats not true

HVs are so over worked where I am they ARE pleased to not have to see anyone

The lovely HV who supported me in my early days breastfeeding DD wasnt doing surveillance

You are being utterly paranoid

HV are not compulsory that is correct

debka Sat 29-Jan-11 20:15:35

Surely refusing entrance to a HV would mark you out as a 'trouble maker' with something to hide? Better to make sure you are caring for your baby properly and HAVE nothing to hide or be ashamed of.

I doubt the HVs I see at the clinic have time to make notes on me - they barely note anything down in ds's red book before moving on to the next person.

Pootles2010 Sat 29-Jan-11 20:16:49

I think you are being paranoid. My hv's were great, and probably saved me from having sort of issues ss would be involved in.

Certainly didn't mind our house being a tip - in fact she said it showed I was focusing on ds, and that she found that reassuring.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:17:05

PaisleyLeaf

"Anyway where I am we're so short of HVs if I want to see one I have to do the running."

While you're at it, perhaps you'd like MI5 to bug your home and your phones.

If you want your child to receive health checks, take him or her to your GP, someone whose first duty is to care for you and your child, who has the in-depth knowledge and medical education and who will fully respect your patient confidentiality.

rubyslippers Sat 29-Jan-11 20:18:51

I think my file would say

"mum very determined to breastfeed and baby lovely"

My GP would not have made weekly visits to my home to support me, to tell me what a great job I was doing feeding DD exclusively

Yeah, I'm sure my GP would be really happy if I turned up and asked him to weigh the baby and recommend me something for cradle cap.

debka Sat 29-Jan-11 20:19:39

And those mothers who DO NOT want their children to have health checks, OP? Surely the HVs are there to protect those children who are at risk, NOT to persecute those with responsible parents.

PaisleyLeaf Sat 29-Jan-11 20:22:11

I just saw them at the drop-in-and-weigh clinic now and again as they have those special scales and wouldn't want to bother the GP with just checking that my baby thriving okay.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:23:12

debka

"Surely refusing entrance to a HV would mark you out as a 'trouble maker' with something to hide? Better to make sure you are caring for your baby properly and HAVE nothing to hide or be ashamed of."

I see, so maybe it would be OK for the police to install CCTV in your home - you know, just in case you are a criminal. I mean, if you have nothing to hide or be ashamed of...

It is not the job of the state or the NHS to "make sure you are caring for your baby properly" - unless you live in a totalitarian state, that is. In a free society, citizens are assumed to be acting lawfully and properly unless and until evidence emerges to the contrary. That is part of the presumption of innocence. If they want to mark you out as a "troublemaker" - let them. Your privacy is too important to sacrifice. Or perhaps yours isn't, in which case you deserve all you get.

pootles

"in fact she said it showed I was focusing on ds, and that she found that reassuring."

Oh, well so long as she approves of what you do in your own home, that's fine then.

I bet you love Big Brother.

reallytired Sat 29-Jan-11 20:24:09

"They keep detailed records not just about the child, but they make assessments of the mother and father - their perceived competence as parents etc, the cleanliness of the home and anything else that catches their interest."

Why is that an issue to you. I am quite glad that there is a level of surveillance. Far too many children die at the hands of their parents.

I think you are stupid telling your son and dil not to let the health visitor in. You are cutting your dil off from a good source of support. Your DIL needs outside support with a paranoid weirdo for mother in law.

It is better to let the health visitor do the primary visit. To do anything else will mark your DIL as a weirdo. Heath visitors don't do development reviews anymore, but they do regularly talk to GPs.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:26:58

We weighed all our three kids ourselves - and they were fine. These days any fool can get hold of a chart showing what a baby should weigh at a certain age.

My edlest daughter (a proper paediatrician, BTW, not some nurse who has been on a course) advises that if your infant has a problem warranting medical attention, ask your GP. If it's less serious, ask your pharmacist.

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:27:56

I loved and needed my HV...she was great...I needed her support and she advised and helped me. You're being VERY irresponsible coming on here as a MAN and frightening women who may not have had a baby yet. They don't need YOU to tell them things which they could work out themselves...f they had a bad HV they could ask for another. Butt out.

greentea72 Sat 29-Jan-11 20:28:50

Do you work for the Daily Mail?

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:29:03

HVs do more than advise and weigh...they can be a lifeline for a lonley tired Mther alone all day long with no visitors and a new baby...that's what I was and many others like me.

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:29:43

Was JUST thinking that greentea! Inflammatory twaddle this fool speaks.

debka Sat 29-Jan-11 20:31:20

OP why are you so aggressive about this? I was just saying that if you have nothing to hide then a HV in your home should not be an issue, and for vulnerable babies it may be the difference literally between life and death?

nickytwotimes Sat 29-Jan-11 20:32:11

nurse who's been on a course!?

it's 18 mths!

my hv has been a godsend.

my gp knows flip all about babies. docs are trained in medicine - they can be great at treating a condition/illness but most of the gps and paeds i have had contact with know sod all about bfing, weaning, etc. outwith personal experience.

rubyslippers Sat 29-Jan-11 20:32:37

I KNOW how to approach my health professionals

I wouldnt dream of bothering my GP about breatsfeeding

Or my pharmacist

But I would speak to my HV or breastfeeding help line

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:33:59

That's right Nicky...my HV showed me things like how to dress a baby when her buttons were at the back! I'd love to see my doctor show me that!

nickytwotimes Sat 29-Jan-11 20:34:14

oh and btw bisonex, you are mansplaining at us.

never goes down well.

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:34:43

And swaddling..."excuse me overworked and tired GP...I have come to be taught how to swaddle!!"

Haaa haaa!

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:35:11

reallytired

I don't like being spied on. Obviously, you don't mind. I also have cause to mistrust HVs because I have worked with them and I know how they con mothers.

I see that not only have you resorted to name calling (always the sign of a loser in an argument), you also have literacy issues. I said at the start that I am to be a grandfather any day and yet you think I am a "weirdo mother-in-law".

I have seen HV records and they do not mark people out as weirdos simply for deciding not to avail themselves of HV's services. They simply show "access denied" - they can't show anything else.

If you are dumb enough to admit one of these spies into your home - get on with it - you deserve all you get. I simply want to offer a word of warning to any expectant mum who has sufficient intellect and is sufficiently jealous of her privacy to heed my warning.

I have worked alongside them.

They are not your friends, even though the pretend to be.

They WILL spy on you and write stuff down about you that you can never challenge.

Don't let them in!

FickleFreckle Sat 29-Jan-11 20:35:44

Just wanted to point out quickly that if people are uncomfortable with HV's coming into their home most SureStart centres have health visitors and midwives who visit them - our local ones have "stay-and-weigh" sessions with toys for siblings to play with - wish they'd had them when ds was a baby instead of waiting anxiously for ages in doctor's waiting-room...

I had a wonderful HV who supported me all through my deepest, darkest days, and could easily have made out all manner of cases for me being totally unfit to have care of my children (which was what I believed at the time). Instead she told me "I don't doubt that your children are the centre of your being" - which meant a lot to me.

There have been a few others who have been annoyingly bossy or given me dodgy advice, but all of them were sincerely trying to help and I appreciated it.

Bisonex, what time frame are you talking about? Is this recent experience of HV's? And in what capacity have you encountered them? - it might help people assess the information you're giving them a bit better.

PaisleyLeaf Sat 29-Jan-11 20:36:46

I'm glad that HVs take a holistic view of the needs of the whole family.
Not all children are born into families of paediatricians and people who attend conferences.

rubyslippers Sat 29-Jan-11 20:37:37

You are being alarmist

And paranoid

People who let HVs in "deserve all they get"

I am not "dumb"

But you are rude

biscuit

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:38:39

The OP is a bit paranoid methinks! Spies!

It's the new James Bond film..."The Health Visitor Who Loved Me"

rubyslippers Sat 29-Jan-11 20:40:39

Snigger @ wimple

activate Sat 29-Jan-11 20:41:28

I refused to see health visitors after my 3rd child when I realised that even though it was another HV they knew things about my family that I would not have expected to be on record.

Things that were not relevant to the children but to DP and I

I know because HV for DS3 asked me about something that she would have no reason to know

closed door policy after that

This is ridiculous. My HV's have been a great support since my DD was born 3 months ago, I have PND. I have come a long way in a short time with their help.

My experience with HV's after my son was born 3 years ago was quite different, but somehow I don't feel the need to tar every HV with the same daft brush as the stupid woman I had to see back then.

Do you think they all just want to snatch babies away from loving homes or something?

Wow, that's a lot of anger you have towards HVs Bisonex! My mil is a HV and in management and she is the most nonjudgemental person. For far too long there has been a misconception about HVs being quick to make damning judgements about families and it just isn't the case. Of course you'll find the odd bad one but that's true of any profession.
HVs in general have such large caseloads, work incredibly hard and are facing huge funding cuts. In the future we'll be complaining that we don't get the necessary support from them as they are so stretched.
I'm going to stop now as I am getting quite cross and am in early labour so don't need the stress but I can't believe you would recommend women go it alone when they are at their most vulnerable. If a woman decides she doesn't want to see a HV then that's her decision but please be more careful when you make such sweeping generalisations.
My first ever biscuit

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:45:08

Ficklefreckle

Firstly, why would you want to drag your baby to a clinic just to be weighed? Don't you have a set of scales that would suffice? There are plenty of charts around to guide you as to the ideal weight etc for a baby of any age.

My children are aged 26, 23 and 15 respectively. In the 1980s, I was a police detective dealing with child abuse (physical, sexual and emotional) and also cases of severe neglect. I learned two things which surprised me. Firstly, I was quite impressed with social workers - which I hadn't expected. They were on the whole both highly ethical and also proficient. Secondly, I also learned what health visitors were all about - and I was shocked to find that they were first and foremost there to conduct surveillance and they did so with zero respect for privacy. If that shocked me, a hardened copper, it must have been bad. And it was. I resolved never to admit one to my home, and I never did.

I simply want to share this with mothers-to-be, but if they reject that advice then that's up to them.

mamatomany Sat 29-Jan-11 20:46:05

Well i didn't like HV's because they gave me incorrect information and undermined me but if you need help dressing your baby then I guess they are a God send and exactly the right person for the job.
Maternity units send mums home too early these days, if they stayed in a week, established breast feeding, looked after the mum a bit and made sure everyone was ready for the big world before throwing them out there would be less need for HV's.

Abr1de Sat 29-Jan-11 20:49:09

This is rubbish. My mother was a HV in the eighties. She was never carrying out surveillance, her role was to support the mother and help families work well

My HV never carried out surveillance on me, either. She gave advice and let me get on with it. We used to chat about dogs and gardens.

You are paranoid.

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:49:26

Bison why don't you respond to any of my points about HVS offering emotional support to those who need it? As well as practical advice on things such as swaddling and dressing babies....not all new Mothers have grans and things to show them this.

Which is why we need HVs

WimpleOfTheBallet Sat 29-Jan-11 20:50:19

Oh and Bison most of us here are already Mothers...not mothers to be....

So basically your experience with HV's is almost 30 years out of date. Wow, thanks for sharing. I suppose we should wean our babies at 12 weeks and put them to sleep on their tummies, too, to avoid being part of The Conspiracy?

Abr1de Sat 29-Jan-11 20:51:19

Yup. We might actually know what we are talking about. From recent experience.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:53:32

Abr1de

"My mother was a HV in the eighties. She was never carrying out surveillance, her role was to support the mother and help families work well"

Of course she wouldn't. And how many wives and mothers of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan would say they know for sure their beloved sons are only interested in freeing the oppressed people and would never dream of torturing prisoners.

My point is that people do things at work and they don't tell you the full story - for all sorts of reasons. She will tell you her role was to support families etc - she may have even convinced herself she was doing that. It doesn't mean she wasn't spying.

FakePlasticTrees Sat 29-Jan-11 20:53:37

you drag your baby to be weighed because you aren't trusted to write in the special red book

I've only had the HV in our house once, thought you now normally go to them... (or at least, that's how it works round here)

Abr1de Sat 29-Jan-11 20:58:11

OK, confession time. I used to help her weigh the babies at the clinic in school holidays. We used to insert microchips into their nappies. Sorry. People need to know.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 20:59:00

WimpleOfTheBallet

"Bison why don't you respond to any of my points about HVS offering emotional support to those who need it?"

Emotional support? That's what partners and families are for. You don't go to a spy for emotional support.

"As well as practical advice on things such as swaddling and dressing babies"

You need advice on dressing babies? You are having a laugh, right? Just after my youngest was born, my wife had to go into hospital and I had to look after him on my own - for about 9-weeks. I didn't need emotional support or advice about dressing him. I just got on with it.

LadyInTheradiator

According to my daughter, who works with HVs, their role hasn't changed significantly since I was working with them. Nor have their methods.

reallytired Sat 29-Jan-11 20:59:46

Bisonex,

I would agree with you that I have literacy issues. I am very sleep deprived at the moment. What is your job? Have you ever met a health visitor?

My health visitor is not my friend any more than my GP, lawyer, dentist or my son's teacher. She provides a service and is paid at the end of the month. When she has come to my home it has been a professional capacity. She is part of the primary heath team and her role is to assist with safeguarding the health of my family.

Surely its a good idea to detect the children who are risk before they get murdered or they die of their parent's stupidity.

togarama Sat 29-Jan-11 21:00:51

Is this real or a wind-up?

I do find it hard to believe that HVs are sufficiently resourced for the level of surveillance and file maintenance implied by the OP.

I have friends who are paediatric consultants and GPs with a specialism in paediatrics. I can't say they've ever expressed any opinion on HVs as a profession. I must ask them.

Personally, I've only met a HV twice because they carried out the newborn hearing test and 1 year development check-up. I've lived in three different towns in the past 2 years and never been visited at home. (Perhaps f/t working parents just aren't there to answer the door?)

I've always imagined that they're mostly useful for advising very young mothers, breastfeeding support and the kind of low-level concerns which parents wouldn't want to bother a doctor with.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 21:01:58

Abr1de

You may scoff, but there have already been cases of bugging microchips being inserted into children's computers to discover what they are viewing.

EditedforClarity Sat 29-Jan-11 21:02:41

'My edlest daughter (a proper paediatrician, BTW, not some nurse who has been on a course'

How patronising.

FWIW it was my experienced HV who saved my dd's life when the 'proper paediatrican' did know her arse from her elbow.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 21:08:35

reallytired

I have already given most of the information you asked for. Get some sleep and then come and discuss this with me again, when you are a bit more fresh. OK?

togarama

Ask your friends in paediatrics whether they would have a HV in their home after having a baby.

I really wouldn't have a problem with HVs if they were simply a resource to which expectant mothers who have little experience, or a mother of their own to advise them, but they have gone far beyond that.

Of course saving lives is important, but w don't achieve this by close surveillance of the population and maintaining secret files on people "just in case". That is intrusive and should only occur where there are causes for concern. Unfortunately, the surveillance is comprehensive and indiscriminate - and I find that unacceptable.

EditedforClarity Sat 29-Jan-11 21:11:02

Perhaps you'd like to come back when you can be a little less patronising.hmm

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 21:12:42

reallytired has admitted she is "really tired" and not reading things properly. It is not patronising to tell her she should get some kip - it is common sense.

reallytired Sat 29-Jan-11 21:17:50

The thread has been fast moving. Clearly you are not used to mumsnet.

How does being a policeman make you an expert on health visitors? Surely you would not get to see the health visitor files unless you were involved in a court case. Surely the health visitor files are evidence for the family courts to consider.

A health visitor can not make the decision to take a child into care. She would refer the matter to social services.

"That is intrusive and should only occur where there are causes for concern."

How would you find out whether a child was a cause for concern. How would you have prevented baby P's death.

togarama Sat 29-Jan-11 21:19:03

I can't defend HVs because I've had so little contact with them and no reason to seek more.

However, having worked in government, I would be astonished if there was any professional public health network carrying out "comprehensive and indiscriminate" surveillance on the UK public.

There isn't the money, the IT systems don't work properly and the genuine caseload is too big.

If you and your daughter just don't like HVs, that's your own business.

If you have actual evidence to the contrary, I suggest you send it to Private Eye or a few local newspapers.

I'm bowing out now because I have a strong suspicion that this is a wind-up.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 21:30:00

reallytired

I'm not a policeman now, I am a university lecturer. I didn't say it made me an expert - I am speaking from several years of close involvement with health visitors in my job. I am aware that a HV can not take a child into care - that would require a referral to SS who would first have to seek an Emergency Protection Order. That's not my concern - my concern is the level of surveillance and the nature of the records kept on people who are ostensibly their "patients" but are more akin to the targets of police surveillance.

As for not seeing health visitor files - they are technically patient records and the law says you CAN see them, just as you are entitled to see your GP records. However, if you try to access these, a whole bunch of obstacles will be placed in your way (try it!). Why do you think that is?

You ask how you would find out about a child who was a cause for concern. In a tiny number of cases, you wouldn't. Yes, that could lead to a tragedy - but it's debatable whether a HV could have prevented that anyway as such parents already know they are under no obligation to co-operate with HVs and, rather than sending them away, they just decline to answer the door to them.

JanetPlanet Sat 29-Jan-11 21:32:58

I moved gps to get away from my HV. Only let him in once and then purposefully went out for his next visit so we didn't have to let him in. He told me that if I couldn't cope with the baby crying I should leave him in a safe place and leave the room 'because you don't want to end up another Louise Woodward do you'. He also said that he was my first port of call for any bf problems! As if! He speciffically told me thatgiven the baby P scandal he was there fundamentally for the protection of the baby and if he though anything was suspect or untoward he would report us immediately. I found the whole experience patronising and upsetting and I will be complaining about him.
He also told my husband how to read and talk to the baby. DH is a prof of developmental psychology, but HV hadn't bothered to find out anything about us. Worryingly he was training another HV at the time who had to sit through this too. Still bit upset by it now.

greenbeanie Sat 29-Jan-11 21:35:35

I am a HV, I have a degree in paediatric nursing and one in public health ( a total of 6 years training and 14 years experience). I wish I had the time to give the families on my caseload the care and attention that they deserve. We have no capacity to carry out "surveillance" and nor would we wish to.

I see my role as being there to support child and family in their journey from birth to pre-school. There are of course families that choose not to take this universal service up and that is always respected as their right. Most of our client contact is in clinic so not even in their homes where we can be "Big Brother". Of course we make and keep notes just as I am sure your paediatrician daughter does as it is a legal requirement, but they are not of the kind that you have implied.

It seems to me that you have obviously had a bad experience with regards to health visitors as a profession. As with all professions there are good and bad and I think it is a shame to tar us all with the same brush. However, fortunately it sounds from your posting that you will never have the need to have a health visitor visit your house so at least you are safe from our prying eyes.

JanetPlanet Sat 29-Jan-11 21:36:28

Can I also add that we live in a nice house, it was spotless at the time(because I felt hv would be inspecting) DH, ds and I were all presentable, happy and ds sat the whole time cooing at hv, yet we were treated like 16 year olds with drug and alcohol problems.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 21:39:18

Janet

You have my sympathy - but I can't say i am surprised. My advice on here is simply do not let HVs into your home - they are not there to be your friend or helper, they are there so that the government can say it has done what it can the next time a child dies through abuse or neglect.

I hope people will listen to you even if they think I am just a paranoid old fool.

TheCrackFox Sat 29-Jan-11 21:39:21

My HV was very nice just a little dippy; e.g. she asked me if I read books whilst sat in front of a massive bookcase hmm. I didn't bother after the 6 week check.

However, in Edinburgh where I live, I think they are now targeting HVs at families that might require their support more.

hastingsmum Sat 29-Jan-11 21:40:34

I understand where you are coming from with your post Bisonex, HVs do have to make notes on all families they see, it is, I believe, part of their job description nowadays, but I think it's a bit extreme to advise people not to let them into your home.

I personally find HVs generally useless and would not miss them one little bit but many people actually like having HVs coming round and do trust the advise they give.

TotalChaos Sat 29-Jan-11 21:42:37

Have had some bad experiences with hvs so i agree that in some instances, but not all, the OP unfortunately has a point.

Horton Sat 29-Jan-11 21:43:52

When my HV came round after DD's birth (the one and only time I have seen her), there was a punnet of mouldy apricots sitting on the table which I attempted to hide rather cack-handedly (I had meant to cook them but I'd been a bit busy giving birth etc). No repercussions have ensued. She wasn't much help but I am pretty sure she wasn't compiling some nutso dossier on me.

JanetPlanet Sat 29-Jan-11 21:48:35

I don't think you're a paranoid old fool Bisonex, My HV told me exactly what his agenda was- to see if anything untoward was going on, in which case he'd report us immediately. I found this really upsetting as a new mum, I felt I was doing a great job and he didn't seem to pick up on that at all. Will not be letting them over the door when dc2 arrives. The midwife's visits were supportive and useful and gp's are there if you need them. What's the point in Hv's other than to see if anything 'untiward' is going on?

greenbeanie Sat 29-Jan-11 21:49:20

Bisonex, I was interested by your comment, "they are there so that the government can say it has done what it can the next time a child dies through abuse or neglect." Surely if that was the case we would be visiting all families with children. What about Victoria Climbie and the many children like her who are school age children? As I am sure you are aware they do not come under our remit as health visitors.

Of course child protection is part of our role, but thankfully it is a tiny minority of families where this is an issue.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 21:50:10

greenbeanie

If a new mother gets a knock at the door, how is she to know whether the HV standing there is the kind you claim to be (and I'll take your word for it that you are), or the kind I have experienced?

It is interesting that you refer to people you see as "clients" rather than "patients". Why is that? In my experience, people who call the recipients of their services tend to be either lawyers or social workers, whereas those people who are there to care for the health of others refer to them as "patients".

Lastly, you say that "There are of course families that choose not to take this universal service up and that is always respected as their right". I recall receiving about six visits from a HV when our youngest was born in spite of contacting them before her birth and asking them not to visit. The first one who came said that it was a "statutory visit" and that the law "required her to come" - the implication being that she had some legal right of entry. Of course, I knew she had no such right and refused. We then got a snotty letter asking us to account for our "refusal to grant access", followed by a phone call from the head of health visiting. It came close to bullying and it was only when I told them that I knew my legal rights in this respect that they left us alone. Fortunately, I regularly played squash with my GP and he said he wold also contact them and tell them to lay off.

That's not a way to treat people who are, essentially, your patients and to whom you are supposed to be offering a service.

JanetPlanet Sat 29-Jan-11 21:50:21

Sorry for sp.

greenbeanie Sat 29-Jan-11 21:57:04

JanetPlanet, I am sorry to hear about the experience you have had. I decided to train as a health visitor after having my first child and having a bad experience with my own health visitor!

I trained with a genuine interest in supporting parents following the birth of their baby and that is what I aim to do. We are stretched and I have to say that on the whole I don't feel that we are able to offer the service that we would like because of lack of resources.

Our recommended caseload size per health visitor is 250 children, we have 1200. My role consists of providing breastfeeding support, training breastfeeding peer supporters, developmental reviews, postnatal depression support and cognitive behavioural therapy when appropriate, child protection, immunisations etc.

By the nature of our role the wellbeing of the child has to be paramount in the case of child protection but that is by no means the sole purpose of our role.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 21:59:03

Janet,

Thanks for that. So much for the claim that HVs are there to provide "emotional support"!

greenbeanie

I suspect that the provision of health visiting is not dissimilar to the provision of many other public services in the UK - i.e. what you get depends upon where you live - and so I am happy and relieved to take your word for it that you are there for the benefit of your patients rather than predominantly being there to police them.

I don't live in the UK any more and in my area new mothers get a note before they leave hospital which tells them to whom they can turn if they need any advice. Few take up this service, however, because they know they have mothers of their own who have been through the whole thing and can offer them whatever support they need.

greenbeanie Sat 29-Jan-11 22:01:21

Bisonex,I refer to the families that I work with as clients as I do not regard them as unwell or ill. I am there to offer support to families which is very much led by them so as to meet their needs, rather than to some agenda that I have.

OP you are just being daft and scaremongering!

My HV came to my house a grand total of twice when my DD was small! Once when she was born to discharge me from the MWs and give me her red book and the second time was her 8 month check. I used to get DD weighed at the community centre in the village and I could ask questions or talk about any concerns I had there! DD's 2 year check was done by the nursery nurse (who I know very well from going to the baby groups, which she runs).

I feel sorry for the flack that HVs get. Most of them are lovely and I have a few friends who wouldn't have got through their PND were it not for their HV!

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 29-Jan-11 22:03:49

I reckon the OP has been reading too much Frank Furedi.

Society has to negotiate a balance between protecting the rights of parents to a private life and to preventing the neglect, abuse and death of vulnerable children. The UK - despite the horrid and high profile cases - has the fourth lowest child murder rate in the western world and has seen a 40% decline in child murder since the 1970s. This is partly thanks to increased support by health visitors and social services.

If I were a health visitor, a parent ringing me up and telling me they wanted no contact with the service prior to the child's birth - that would ring some alarm bells with me.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 22:07:00

greenbeanie

One does not have to be unwell or ill to be a "patient". If I go to see my optician or dentist for a check-up, I am referred to as a "patient", not a "client". To a midwife, an expctant mother is a patient rather than a client, and she is not "unwell or ill".

This may seem like a minor point, but I think it throws some light upon the way HVs perceive the people they are supposed to be caring for. If HVs are part of the National Health Service, working with GPs and other health professionals, then surely they should be viewing those they care for in the same way, rather than as recipients of legal services or as being in need of social services.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 29-Jan-11 22:07:18

Sorry I've picked up on the more extreme end of the spectrum - I was rather governed by the OP's paranoid scaremongering. My point is a little extreme but valid I feel.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 22:17:55

WanderingSheep

"OP you are just being daft and scaremongering!"

Really? Read the whole thread and you will see that I am not the only person with this perception. There are some recent mothers on here who have confirmed what I have said.

"I feel sorry for the flack that HVs get. Most of them are lovely"

I'm sure some of the spies who work at MI5 and MI6 are lovely, too. But they still spy on people - with a friendly smile, of course,

TondelayoSchwartzkopf

"If I were a health visitor, a parent ringing me up and telling me they wanted no contact with the service prior to the child's birth - that would ring some alarm bells with me."

It can ring all the alarm bells it likes but our resident health visitor here will confirm that any patient/client has a RIGHT to decline her services. Your "alarm bells" would not be sufficient to warrant you taking any action unless you had other grounds.

If you want to admit health visitors to your home, go ahead. I have reason to suggest that is unwise, and there are other posters on here who have had experiences which make them agree with me.

greenbeanie Sat 29-Jan-11 22:25:34

I do realise that you don't have to be unwell to be a patient, but I wouldn't refer to a whole family as my patients. On the whole, when in practice I refer to them as families rather than patients or clients.

Just as a matter of interest there have been a few times when I have made notes with regards to the home that I visited. Several years ago I visited a home where I documented that there were dog faeces on the living room foor next to where the baby was lying, that I was invited to sit on the sofa and had to remove the drug paraphenalia including syringes etc. before sitting down. These are the kind of things that I document when it is clear that the home environment is having a direct impact on the wellbeing of the child and family.

reallytired Sat 29-Jan-11 22:27:39

Do you think that you should refuse postnatal visits from midwives as well. They have files on families and duty to refer to social services if they have concerns.

Or if you want to be paranoid, why don't you pay for all your health needs privately.

EditedforClarity Sat 29-Jan-11 22:28:57

I agree Bisonex that you are a scaremongerer. By you own admittance you are baseing your opinions solely on experiences with HVs involved in child abuse cases as no health visitor ever crossed the threshold of your home. It would only be right that a HV involved in such cases took notes, just as the paediatricians and social workers would. Some mothers have bad experiences with HV that is true but many, many mothers need and are grateful for their help. It's unhelpful in the extreme to encourage new mothers to exclude what may be a source of good advice and support when you yourself have no personal experience of it.

pooka Sat 29-Jan-11 22:34:15

Well I really liked all of the health visitors I've had contact with. But only had one post-natal visit with each of my 3 babies.

When I had dd though, I really struggled in the early weeks with constant feeding, lack of experience of babies and a sense of isolation.

My local clinic ran a brilliant post-natal group - 8 weeks of weekly meetings at the clinic. 10 of us, first time mothers. Got babies weighed, had a talk about a topic (i.e. visit from continence nurse to discuss pelvic floor, and what support was available if there were continence issues, or a chat about weaning, or sleep for example).

We've all kept in touch and 7 years later count each other as very good friends.

Yes, sometimes people complain of outdated advice. But you don't have to follow guidance - can go your own way with regard to weaning, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and so on.

Incidentally my Great Aunt was a HV in the 1960's. Previously a midwife and district nurse. She was amazing - and definitely saw her role as one of supporting mothers and families.

pooka Sat 29-Jan-11 22:35:33

I mean - only one post-natal home visit. Rest of time saw them at clinic, or have rung up on occasion if had a minor concern to discuss.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 22:46:24

greenbeanie

I accept that there are instances where you have to take notes. But here is an example I gave earlier:

"I recall the amount of data collected by a HV on a local solicitor who had been unexpectedly arrested on suspicion of viewing child porn, and the HV said she had not been to the family home since his arrest. She was open about the fact that she had previously thought the family was "perfect" in every respect, but that hadn't stopped her compiling copious notes on all manner of stuff, including that the child was being "breathed on" by a grandparent who "smelled of cigarette smoke". That is unwarranted surveillance - it is data capture on the off-chance that it will one day come in useful. It turned out that the solicitor had not been viewing child porn."

Would you have recorded hat the child was being "breathed on" by a grandparent who "smelled of cigarette smoke"? Would you not agree that is neither relevant nor helpful?

reallytired

I also saw notes prepared by midwives and they were, from what i saw, far less detailed and intrusive. Midwives were clearly there as medical staff (and they called the people they treated "patients" and not "clients").

EditedforClarity

No, I didn't have the "experience" of having a health visitor in my home - maybe if I had let one in she would have been awfully nice. However, I'm not talking about their "niceness" - I'm talking about what I have seen that the mothers had NOT seen - the records showing an intrusive level of surveillance.

Mothers here can read what my experiences are, and the experiences of other mothers, and they can decide for themselves 1. whether the need a health visitor (I would argue that most don't) and 2. whether they are prepared to sacrifice their privacy for what is, in most cases, a bit of advice they could just as easily have obtained from their mothers, their pharmacist, or a decent child care manual.

greenbeanie seems really nice and reassuring and everything she says may well be true. But when you have had a baby and the doorbell rings you don't know whether the HV standing before you is the benign and helpful greenbeanie, or some obnoxious, spying busybody.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 22:48:06

reallytired

Why don't I pay for all my family's health needs? I don't need to. I don't live in the UK.

:-)

OP - your experience of HV notes is from cases of suspected child abuse. Don't you think it would be negligent of HV not to make notes if they suspect abuse? Have you seen the files of "normal" families?

How do you know that they will obstruct you in obtaining a copy of your notes given that you have never used their service?

Your eldest daughter is only 26 (assuming she is your oldest child), so given the length of medical training and the rotational nature of first jobs in medicine she will have had fairly limited experience in paediatrics. Between the two of you, your experience hardly sets you up as an expert in the role of HV.

I have found HVs to be useful - they have more experience of everyday baby stuff than GPs. They are there for questions about a healthy baby as well as an ill baby. I am pleased that someone else has an interest in DD including in her welfare. New babies are a challenge for many mothers and having HV support is very important to many families.

" Read the whole thread and you will see that I am not the only person with this perception. There are some recent mothers on here who have confirmed what I have said."

I have read the thread! There are two posters, one said that they saw some of your point.

And PMSL at comparing HVs to MI5 and MI6 spies! grin

pooka Sat 29-Jan-11 22:54:55

I completely agree with breatheslowly.

I think I would have been a wreck if I hadn't had the gentle support I got from the Health Visitor in the early weeks - something as simple as a post-natal group, some leaflets and just a sympathetic ear made a massive difference to me when I was feeling vulnerable. I was either going to naturally rise out of the fog, or sink down into depression. The Health Visitor I had at that time made a big difference to how I was feeling.

I also like the fact that I can call if I have a general question about a healthy baby - one that I would feel silly taking to a doctor.

I'm sure any notes on me (if any -I think they've got bigger fish to fry) would read like the entries in the childrens' red books - "Feeding well" or "mother expressed concern about cord stump smell" or "referred to opthalmologist" or "baby sleeping well".

None of which concerns me to be honest.

So basically, in situations where some kind of abuse is suspected HVs have made copious notes on the family? Don't see a problem.

mrshuxley Sat 29-Jan-11 22:59:33

What is the legal position on notes taken by HVs? Do they go on the child's GP records? Are they destroyed after a certain time? Are they computerised? These things must be covered by all the recent legislation, so the situation must be clear-cut.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 23:02:24

breatheslowly

As I explained earlier, I have seen the notes of "normal families", i.e. families before anyone in that family was suspected of anything. What I am saying isn't new, and it shouldn't be news to anyone. Check this out:

http://headlines-today.co.uk/2010/06/17/health-vis itors-or-health-police/

Firstly, one of my friends used to be my GP and he told me that his patients get to see all his notes on demand, but getting access to health visitors' notes is a lengthy and difficult process (on purpose). If you do a quick Internet search, you will see this is a common complaint.

My eldest daughter is nearly 27 and is an SHO on paediatrics and has passed several "specialist" exams in her specialism prior to her taking up a post as a paeds registrar. I don't claim to be an "expert" in the HV - one doesn't need to be an expert in something to be aware of the danger it poses. I'm not an expert in cocaine, but I know it's unwise to introduce it into my body, just as it is unwise to admit a HV into my home.

My wife and I managed perfectly well without a HV, just as new parents managed for generations before they ever existed, yet you seem to think you need one. Fine - but the price you pay for a bit of common sense advice might be your privacy. Your choice. I value my privacy too much.

fifi25 Sat 29-Jan-11 23:03:26

Ive had a really bad experience with a hv. The one i had with my 1st dauughter was lovely, i couldnt fault her and could talk to her about any concerns. The one i had with my 2nd daughter was a complete nightmare. She was very critical. She was visiting the baby and my other daughter 2 at the time refused to switch cbeebies off. She then dragged her to the naughty step and my daughter kicked her in the face. This was obviously because she was scared and has never done anything like this before or since. One night the youngest was screaming so much she came out in a rash all over her body. I was admitted to the childrens ward. She was admitted and given a lumber for meningitis which came back negative. At some point i believe the hospital rang the health visitor who said she had concerns. I was kept in for 3 days and my daughter was subjected to mri scans, numerous blood test and an ulta sound. The diagnosis gastric reflux, I was send home with the medcine and she was fine. Within 2 weeks she rolled of the bed, i caught her but she banged her arm on the edge of the pine bed, She had a greenstick fracture. A year to the day whilst at her grandmas she was jumping on the bed with my eldest who by her own admission bumped her off the bed by accident. She had broke the same arm. I felt sick taking her back to the hospital but obviously had to. They immediatly rang the health visitor who said she didnt want me released from hospital and i was kept in for 3 days and treat like a criminal. I was refered to social services who were great and was signed off immediately. When she started school we were discussing hv and 3 mothers had asked the same hv to leave her house and not come back. I since have had my 3rd daughter and refused this health visitor. I was given a different one who has now left and i am back on the horrible ones list. My youngest is now 2.5 and for someone who had grave concerns about the other daughter i havent clapped eyes on her. This may be as i seen her in one of the local bars with a teenagers hand up her skirt and made a point of letting her see me.

pooka Sat 29-Jan-11 23:04:05

I agree. I think "you value your privacy too much".

mrshuxley Sat 29-Jan-11 23:06:14

But as you say, GP records have to be made available on demand (in exchange for a small photocopying fee). So if HV records are different, that is weird. Escept that I know parents aren't supposed to know if their dc are on the at risk register? Don't know how that fits in with data protection etc?

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 23:08:28

MoonUnitAlpha

"So basically, in situations where some kind of abuse is suspected HVs have made copious notes on the family? Don't see a problem."

You are not reading what I am writing. Read it again because I can't be bothered to repeat myself.

WanderingSheep

There are people on here sharing real experiences which confirm some or all of what I am saying. That proves it's not just me who thinks this, which some people are implying.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 23:13:15

fifi25

That is a horrific story. Thanks for sharing it with us. If I were you, I would make it clear you are not prepared to have anything further to do with health visitors. You don't need their "advice" or interference - and you are not obliged to accept them.

pooka

"I agree. I think "you value your privacy too much"."

That is probably what the parents of those poor children in South Ronaldsay thought in 1991, before their kids were taken from them on the basis of dubious information.

You can never over-value your privacy.

cat64 Sat 29-Jan-11 23:17:23

Message withdrawn

birdbandit Sat 29-Jan-11 23:19:24

No, Bisonex, you are absolutely right.

The only way to stay sane in this crazy police state is to stay indoors, curtains closed and to keep all the doors locked.

Trust NO ONE. The very minimum is to keep your money stuffed in a mattress (the banks keep a record of your spending!?!) You can't speak to anyone at work, those HR people have files on all of us. Let a HV see your baby?? In your HOME??? that would be madness indeed.

And of course you will need to take a hammer to your hard drive after posting here, they are watching us you know.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 29-Jan-11 23:25:37

grin at birdbandit

Having had the misfortune to click through the OP's linked 'source' I think we are only a few short posts from 9/11 Conspiracy, Duke of Edinburgh murdered Lady Di and Lizard Overlords.

NB: there are of course serious aspects to government surveillance of private individuals but I don't think the HV system is one of them.

birdbandit Sat 29-Jan-11 23:27:19

I personally welcome our Lizard Overlords.

NonnoMum Sat 29-Jan-11 23:28:16

OP, I LOVED my Hv visiting me during the crazy first few days of each of my three babies.

It helped me distinguish between night and day. grin

And if I was being covertly surveyed, well, that meant that I was stiil part of the human race and not just a seething mass of bleeding hormones. confused

And why should only the drug addicts get all the attention??

I value my DD's welfare over this minute invasion of my privacy (actually our HV encourage us to go to them, so really not much of an intrusion at all).

Common sense is not necessarily enough when you have your first child and have no previous experience of babies. Previous generations have survived without HV (though I think that healthcare provision and outcomes are much better now). However society has change such that many women have no experience of babies until they have their first. They often live far away from their family, so they can't get advice from more experienced mothers.

All professions have a few poor practitioners. To suggest that we should all aviod HV as a small minority are unpleasant or intrusive is akin to suggesting that we should all avoid doctors as a small number sometimes make the wrong diagnosis.

Whilst I woudn't normally say this about "surveillance", I have nothing to hide and I love my DD enough to allow a well trained professional to take a glimpse in our house and see this for themself. If on the otherhand I had experienced an unusual breakdown following DD's birth for example puerpural psychosis, then I would rather that someone "spied" on me and ensured the safety of my DD until I was well enough to do so myself.

I have done a quick internet search and can't find any evidence that accessing HV notes is a widespread problem.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 23:30:57

cat64

Another semi-literate poster resorting to personal insults. I didn't mention a "conspiracy" - I don't think it was any such thing originally, although the previous government, with its ID cards and massive extension of such things as ANPR and the Children's Database had no qualms about state organised and intrusive public surveillance.

I did 30-years in the police and retired nearly 3-years ago, and I now teach at a university (linguistics, before you ask, because that's what I studied when researching for my PhD).

When I was involved in child protection, it wasn't computerised at all. The HVs had blue forms for boys and pink ones for girls, and everything was on paper - no doubt it's all on computer now and much speedier.

We're not talking about surveilling the entire population either, merely a substantial proportion of those who have an infant under a year old. The level of this surveillance also does not appear to be uniform around the UK - it depends where you live. The funding isn't an issue - it was done long before there were computers and their introduction would no doubt have made it easier, quicker and probably cheaper.

I'm not suggesting that these are surveillance files with the kind of detail one would expect the police to collate on a target criminal for every family. Yes, that would be unfeasible. But you don't need any such thing - just a couple of paragraphs on a form following each visit and you have soon gathered a fair amount of private intelligence on your "clients".

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 23:32:26

Much as I have enjoyed chatting to you all, it is half past midnight here in Sweden, so I'm off to bed.

Cheerie bye.

fifi25 Sat 29-Jan-11 23:34:16

The health visitor i was originally allocated for my 3rd daughter was aware of the situation and i refused the same HV i had for my 2nd daughter. It was just unfortunate she left. My point is i am not against HV's but if they get things wrong it has consequences. My daughter was subjected to excessive medical procedures on the word of the HV who seen me once in a blue moon over mine. In my opinion she took a dislike to me and used it against me. Its not just me there are other mothers who wont have her as she is very critical. One mother was repeatedly telling her that her baby was sick. She told her not to take her to hospital and try different milks. She was only 18 and took her advice. The baby was underweight and when she took her to hospital she has a milk intolerence.

I don't think that computerisation would have made this network of spies HVs' role in collecting information quicker. They would have to make notes and then return to their office to type them up.

Bisonex Sat 29-Jan-11 23:37:51

Before I go, don't forget to take a look at this:

http://headlines-today.co.uk/2010/06/17/health-vis itors-or-health-police/

My concerns are not unique to me, and they are not new, either.

You have been warned.

NonnoMum Sat 29-Jan-11 23:42:01

OK - so we have been warned. But we (many of us on this thread) have survived HV visits without anything untoward happening.

You, OP, on the other hand, are in another country, and are about to become a grandparent, not a parent (congrats btw). So, I'm wondering why you are feeling so paranoid about this?

Cribbage Sat 29-Jan-11 23:44:03

I'm not convinced that most HVs have the resources to be writing the kind of notes you are describing, Bisonex.
But anyway there is a flip side to their observations. A few years ago I had some malicious allegations made against me. My HV had been a regular visitor to my home as my DC has some ongoing health issues. SS obviously got involved and the HV was great, her notes proved that my DC are well cared for and that she had never had any concerns. She also met with SS to discuss the allegations and largely due to her input SS realised that there was nothing suspicious going on. Her objective and well respected POV were very important in this instance.
Your daughter is almost 27? Oh that makes all the difference to her experience then confused I'm a teacher, doesn't mean I don't need outside advice on my children's education sometimes.
Anyway I don't care if you are 20 or 40, a high flying career woman or someone on minimum wage, whatever, first time motherhood can be a crazy time and HVs have a very important role in helping women get to grips with it. If you don't want them in your life fine but stop the scaremongering.

DuelingFanjo Sat 29-Jan-11 23:47:59

What a load of bullshit from the OP. I asked my mum a few days ago (she is an ex social worker) and she says Health Visitors, in her experience, are reluctant to get involved in cases and will only report parents if there are serious and obvious issues.

Cribbage Sat 29-Jan-11 23:48:40

Oh and your link doesn't work biscuit

skandi1 Sun 30-Jan-11 00:04:53

OP. i actually agree with you

(stands back and prepares to be flamed....)

HVs are there to assist mothers but also carry out checks on the home and home environment to be noted (and possibly used later).

I was told about by an ex-police man (know his son and daughter) when i was pregnant. He told me to let them in but ensure my home was pristine and ditto for baby and I. because refusing to let them in was a red flag.

Thankfully we live in a great house and am very house proud so it all looked immaculate as did DD and I.

She was clearly impressed and kept gushing that I was doing such a wonderful job and what a beautiful home I had.

At the end she said there was no need or obligation to see any HV again but I was always welcome at their local clinic anytime.

Needless to say I have given them a very wide berth!!

I did ask her how she came to be an HV and she told me she was newly qualified and that she had done an 18 month course straight after completing her degree in social studies.

So she had no real working experience and certainly no medical training or qualifications which i found a worry tbh.

Appreciate that other HVs are actually nurses who do have some medical knowledge but clearly its not always the case.

atomicdust Sun 30-Jan-11 08:49:57

Bisonex,

Thanks for posting this very interesting thread and for opening a very vivid debate...

Amusing as well that most of the documented evidence / practical examples came from the anti Big Brother Group, while they was a fair amount of unnecessary personal attack from your opponents.

Please do let me pick your brain on an associated debate.

I've started volunteering with home-start, a national charity providing home-based support to families with at least a child under the age of 5.

Some of our referals come from HV and in rarer cases Social Services.

During the training we were very much told that homestart is not a statutory agency and "that we only visit a family with their express invitation and to work with the family to address their perceived issue".

However, we also covered the infamous health aand Safety and then received a slighly different message: that we were also expected to report, document and always keep an eye on ANY possible child abuse or neglect.

I have a fair understanding of child abuse and my heart goes to women who are unfortunate enough to let their kids jump on their bed / climb on trees or simply be kids.

Child neglect is another grey area and we (other trainees and experienced volunteers) had lenghty discussion about it ...

Is it child neglect to have a very messy / bordeline dirty house / possibly unsafe (small objects lying on the floor that could be swallowed by infant) or is it just providing a playful relaxed environment where DM is obviously more focused on the kids than on the house?

Is it child neglect not to take DC out to the park, because it's cold / because DM can not be bothered / because DC want to watch TV (Horrid Henri again!)?

Is it child neglect to have easy fun eating crisps chocolate and pizza in front of the TV, instead of having a "proper healthy family meal, with good Victorian table manners and PC conversation"?

Is it child neglect not to spend hours every night doing schoolwork, plus competitive / team sports , plus music lessons?

Or it child neglect to be a neurotic over pushy mother transfering her own failed ambitions to her poor pawns / sorry DC?

Now at the homestart training, we were especially told to write detailed reports about our activities with the family as well as the "families progress".

Now, please understand that our "brief", when we start volunteering for a family is to "help DM play more with her kids / learn to enjoy positive parenthood time" (???????) or "manage better the house cleanliness and to set-up routines generally"...

So, we are supposed to report that "Mum loves her kids but Mum finds it hard to keep the house tidy / clean safe"
"Mum does not have the self-confidence (???) to take her kids to social outings, park, swimming-pool, library"

"After breaking-up with DH number 3 and father of 1 of the 4 children, DM could not afford (!!!!!!) to pay for DD's transport to school and therefore decided to home-school both herself and her DD as she had herself left school at 16"

(the last example is made-up and exagerated- that is just not the way we are told to word our reports, but it's based on real facts).

Now I'm getting very confused as to my role as a volunteer....

Because I'm totally anti-totalitarian state (if that makes any sense), I like to believe that we live in a free democratic state, where our family life / education ethos is in the private domain and we should not spy on other with the unsaid but profound underlying assumption that our own choice is better, that we are universally right, that somebody having different concepts should be re-educated...

Because also there are many roads to Rome; ie there are lots of different ways of bringing up kids, of abusing or neglecting them (over pushing them, only feeding them macrobiologique vegan food, letting them raise themselves; taking a career that never was-break and becoming a burden on society, simply not being able to afford the now horrendous university costs; being a work-holic and sending them boarding after 2 different au-pairs / private nannies). But one universal thing I have found is that mothers (sorry, fathers as well, I'm sexist now) normally love their kids, they do not always know how to become a positive force towards the successful development of a young human being; we do not even all agree on what "successfull" entails.

And my big concern regarding homestart is that we were first told to "befriend the family", work with them towards their own goal" but at the same time to log a lot of private information.

So, to make a quick disgression, I should maybe look for a job with MI5 as I've all the training to befriend but spy! (does MI5 take on volunteers????)

Our reports are paper-based, but I know there's a new centralised IT system (for all schemes- UK wide) where the information within our reports is entered.

Now I also know that Homestart is sometimes involved with social services (CAF) when a child is being monitored by social services. And i'm very concerned about giving any information to homestart about my family because this information could be misused obviously "for the better interest of the child and family"?

Really?

Alternatively, I would prefer not to say anything about the family I'm visiting to homestart. I would prefer homestart to simply match volunteers and famiies and let them get on with it.

But when I suggested this workflow in another thread, and consequently questioned why homestart is so heavily funded by the taxpayer, I got even more abuse and personal attacks than you!

Anyway, sorry for the rather lenghty rant!

LadyBiscuit Sun 30-Jan-11 08:58:22

atomicdust - have no idea what you mean by the bit about climbing trees but, leaving that aside ...

Why do you think the government fund Homestart? It's not to stop SAHMs being lonely, it's to stop abuse and neglect before it starts. That's why those families have been referred. It would be insane to let a volunteer acting in the State's name to interact with a family with no oversight. The checking is to protect the family from any fuck ups you might make as much as it is to keep on eye on the family.

Perhaps you should look for something else to do.

TotalChaos Sun 30-Jan-11 08:58:30

Atomic what you describe rings v true from my experiences with a few hv, funny how fathers gets off so lightly in all this isnt it.....

LadyBiscuit Sun 30-Jan-11 08:59:54

Actually I can't let this sentence go:

'I have a fair understanding of child abuse and my heart goes to women who are unfortunate enough to let their kids jump on their bed / climb on trees or simply be kids.'

What on earth do you mean??

asdx2 Sun 30-Jan-11 09:21:38

I imagine there are, as in most professions, good and bad HV's. The HV for my ds actively prevented a referral to a paediatrician for my ds by assuring the GP that I was imagining his difficulties and deciding I was depressed instead.
When I finally saw paed after a referral through SALT because again HV and GP refused to refer him themselves the paed's first words were "so your GP thinks this is normal. I am worried to think just how bad it's got to be before they refer on"
At the Multi Disciplinary Assessment meeting the HV tried to argue the findings of the Paed, a psychologist,SALT, Ed psych, OT dismissing it all by saying "the mother is depressed" The paed eventually asked her forcefully to leave as "she wasn't being helpful"
Fortunately for me my ds wouldn't die from autism but the HV was forced to resign after a baby almost died when she advised a mother that she didn't need to see a GP before the weekend, the baby had colic. The baby actually had a twisted bowel and ended up in ICU through dehydration.
Funnily enough I refused a HV with dd and didn't go to the Surestart centre either despite being repeatedly invited and them threatening to turn up on my doorstepangry.They changed their mind when I informed them of my formal complaint against the first HV and her reprimand grin
I wouldn't ever condemn all HV's my concern would be that all concerns about a child's health or development should be referred to a GP at the very least and I think sometimes mothers are reassured by the advice of a HV when they really ought to see a GP. Just my thoughts

What an extraordinary thread. I think this is possibly the most patronising OP I have ever come across.

I do worry that new / first time mothers will read this and be frightened of their health visitors. Don't forget the OP worked in child protection and so naturally dealt with HVs who were doing something which is part of their job, but only happens in a minority of cases. They had concerns. And so therefore they stepped it up a gear, they came round more frequently, their notes became more detailed. He will have had a very skewed image of the day-to-day work of a health visitor.

Added to this, his writing style comes across as borderline paranoid, and certainly he seems under the impression his world view is unalterable. I think this individual has a - shall we say - fairly robust sense of self-esteem. He almost certainly believes himself to be more intelligent than any of us and I'm not sure that's necessarily correct.

I saw my HV notes as they were written in front of me. A typical entry was "Baby gained xxxg and is now on 80th centile. Breastfeeding still going well. Mum still concerned about episiotomy - still very painful. We agreed I'd check it after the weekend and if no improvement go to Doctor". That's it. No "MI5", no "CCTV" - any more than your GP is "spying" when you tell him / her personal information.

Health visitors do not require you to have a pristine home (you've just had a baby!) but a serious lack of hygiene (mouldering food) will of course ring bells, as indeed it should! They are very useful for the thousand little questions you have which your parents can't remember the answer to. Mine were fantastic, and I look forward to seeing them again if I'm lucky enough to have a second.

atomicdust Sun 30-Jan-11 09:23:52

LadiBiscuit; I was refering to a previous post where a lady described some very intrusive and over-paranoid involvment from HV and social services after she took her kids to hospital because of bruises due to falling off the bed...

LadyBiscuit Sun 30-Jan-11 09:31:31

Thank you atomicdust - I haven't read the whole thread because I got bored by the hysterical tone of the OP.

I think there are good and bad HVs. I saw mine once at home and then never saw her again. I never took my DS to be weighed past 8 weeks and don't really want anyone interfering in my life but that didn't happen.

atomicdust Sun 30-Jan-11 09:39:58

LadyBiscuit Good to know that you do not like interference but I do not quite agree that the tone of this OP is hysterical, conflictual maybe.

Longtalljosie ...if you're were talking about my previous thread, thank you for the compliments but pleae do note that I was talking about homestart, a charity providing help to families and getting referrals from DV, not just DV....maybe a bit subtle?

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 09:42:54

atomicdust - mothers unfortunate enough to let their kids jump on beds, climb trees. Kids are kids. When i was little me and my brother used to slide down the stairs on a cardboard box. I dont thik my mother was unfortunate she was letting us be kids. I would be very worried if you were 'assessing' me.

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 09:45:04

I didnt take my kids, i have 3 kids, i took one.

atomicdust Sun 30-Jan-11 09:46:35

Fifi25; that's exactly my point (and BTW my kids also use to slide down the stairs when small)...I was being sarcastic; all in favour of diverse parenting choice and aginst the one fits all / immediate referral to social service for case abuse.

mamatomany Sun 30-Jan-11 10:01:16

Atomicdust I agree with every word and that is why I decided not to complete the HS training. I as an unqualified layman was expected to report on peoples parenting, homelife and ability cope and report.
I'm pretty sure some would be coping better than I do but they would be under scrutiny because they dared to ask for help.
I also agree about climbing tree's and jumping on beds, my children have never been to A&E because I don't allow those things, at the back of my mind I am terrified of going to hospital with the children with an injury.

EditedforClarity Sun 30-Jan-11 10:05:00

Thanks for your comments Bisonex. I'm not sure I was ever concerned with the HVs niceness(?) either rather that you lacked a basis for your extreme view. BTW I have my HV notes - I asked for all the notes after dd was misdiagnosed by 2 paeds and my GP. They weren't difficult to obtain. The paed notes were however. Why was that? IME the HCP I was least worried about was my HV.

You'll proabbaly be back to tell me that they weren't the proper notes, that my real file is locked away somewhere ready to be used against me such is gthe level of your paranoia hmm

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 10:12:44

I have read you thread again and now understand it. At our sure start group the majority of the mothers are from the wealthier families. I wasnt aware sure start got referrals from SS/HV's. I have only been 3 times as i had nothing in common with any of the mothers. I was referred to go i went to see what it was like. I prefer the church and community centre playgroup. What i found interesting is the original HV i got with 3rd daughter had worked for 18 years in one of the most deprived areas. I got the impression that anything you told her would not shock and she had a wealth of experience. I dont think anyone new to the job should have the power to refer people to SS's. I must admitt SS's were brilliant and i got the impression that the HV who referred me was known.

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 10:14:40

i meant i wasn't referred to HS.

atomicdust Sun 30-Jan-11 10:19:57

Thank you Mamatomany; I'm kind of wondering whether not to choose the same path as you...plus quite horrified at the amount of tax-payer money wasted!

atomicdust - I didn't mention you at all, I was talking about the OP from this thread. The CCTV and MI5 comments were his.

mamatomany Sun 30-Jan-11 10:56:09

I was quite upset by the whole thing atom I wanted to be of assistance to the community and felt I'd actually be doing a great disservice to either a family if I got it wrong or a child if I got it wrong, members of the public with 6 weeks training shouldn't be in that position.

nunnie Sun 30-Jan-11 11:09:18

I have a couple of points.
My Dad was a police officer and never mentioned this to me when either me or my sister were expecting, how selfish of him.
My mother in law is a social worker manager of 30 year and again has never mentioned any of the above, surely she would know all this is her professional capacity?

As for clients and patients, I have worked in a dental suregery where people were called clients not patients. I have also worked in a forensic psychiatric hospital and they were also known as clients.

So your theory about clients and patients is untrue. To be honest I don't think many places apart from hospitals maybe that use patient and not client.

I have had a HV in my home with my last two and will be happy to open my door to her for my next one.

nunnie Sun 30-Jan-11 11:16:24

blush excuse my spelling I was trying and obviously failing to do two things at once.

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 11:25:09

I dont think people batted an eyelid in the 70's, 80's even the 90's. I broke my arm 3 times within 18mtnhs. 1st on a skiddy patch, 2nd parachutes with my coat and tripped on a hole and 3rd playing a game at school. No one questioned my man and she rightly wasnt refered to SS's.

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 11:26:32

I am not saying people shouldnt bat an eyelid, they should be investigated but not treat as guilty without the facts being known.

mamatomany Sun 30-Jan-11 11:30:45

they should be investigated but not treat as guilty

Why should they be investigated ? The amount of people that break their children's bones on purpose so high that investigations for all are justified ?
The problem I have with this kind of thing is that in the reports it wouldn't say fifi broke her arm once at school, twice at home it would say fifi has had three broken bones.

MrsJamesMartin Sun 30-Jan-11 11:31:34

Thank goodness this man no longer resides in the UK, his paranoia and venom are something that we can do without.

Theres no reason to be so prickly, if all is well and there is nothing to hide.

You have a right to your privacy but that is no longer your right if your children are at
risk , statutory legislation states this ( but of course you will know that as your daughter is an SHO and you've had dealing at conferences in your "professional capacity").

Of course you don't have to see a HV, but do not expect anything from your GP because it will not happen. They will immunise of course as that a source of income, otherwise you'll be told to "contact your HV".IF you believe otherwise then you are more deluded than you appear.

FFS deliberately inflammatory thread .

nunnie Sun 30-Jan-11 11:45:42

I am also confused, surely if in your "professional capacity" you worked closely on cases which involved child abuse. Why would this be your advice? As if (and I am saying if, as I only have your word no proof, and from a faceless person on the internet who could tell me they were Tom Cruise and I wouldn't be able to provide evidence that they weren't, so I would go with gut instinct), this information you claim is infact true then surely this is a good thing for the protection of children no?

Oh, FFS!!

Everybody get a grip.

The OP was rather patronising in tone, poorly informed and made sweeping generalisations of the worst order.

I am sorry to hear those of you who had bad and appalling experiences with HVs. And I can understand that you'd be very wary ever letting another HV into your life/house.

However, like in every other profession there are good and bad and indifferent and phantastic and insane HVs. You do not have to see any of them. How clean your house is has nothing to do with what they think about you. How well you or your child is dressed has nothing to do with anything.

You all do realise that bisonex lives in Sweden and has only posted on one other thread apart from this one??

V v odd. And misguided.
<<tempted to start a thread to reassure expecting firsttimers that HVs are NOT The Enemy>>
hmm

Oh, yes, and police officers have never ever been heavy handed, misguided or plain wrong, have they??

<<goes off shaking head>>

Crystylline Sun 30-Jan-11 12:04:37

so...

the OP has never let a HV into his home to work with his family, but on the basis that he claims to have been involved in CP cases where a HV's records may have been needed/useful to examine and understand a case better more than 25 years ago, he feels that all HVs are nasty little spies with no interest in supporting or helping new parents??

yeah, right!

I'm sure that the OP doesn't need me to point out that if a case ends up involving the police and multi-service agencies; it probably means there are causes for concern and that they should be addressed or looked into.

If a HV's notes are the most catastrophic thing written about a mother/father, then it's a peculiar point of view that the OP is taking.

Every one of the professionals involved in a CP case would visit/work with and take notes from the police officer attending a call to the home, to the school/nursery, to the social worker appointed if necessary.

so, why pick on HVs?

As others have said, yes some people do have issues with incompetent HVs, but haven't all of us met someone in a professional capacity who we've found incompetent?

I can't believe I'm replying to this obvious trollery, but I'm really angry/concerned that anyone who naievely takes his post as truthful could be at best missing out on a useful service and at worst, putting themselves in a unecessary and potentially damaging position.

Surely the more reasonable advice the OP could have given would be: If you see a HV and you don't like them or have any concerns, talk to them or their superiors about it, rather than blocking their access to your home.

mueslimuncher Sun 30-Jan-11 12:35:43

I agree with you OP.

WidowWadman Sun 30-Jan-11 17:11:37

I wonder whether the OP actually wears a fashionable tinfoil hat and whether he has to take it off when in his professional capacity.

Widow - he was a copper some time ago, probably used it to line his helmet grin

omg, you really need to calm down. HV do make notes, they have to, its their job! and secondly they dont tend to go out to families unless they need to, in otherwords they have a concern or have been asked to go. They havent got time to see everyone and I havent seen one in 2years!

If you dont want to see one, then dont but dont spout off all this crap, now some poor mother who is having hard time is less likely to call HV when she is struggling if she believes you, and that is helpful how?? Are you going to come over and give BF advice, see the signs of PND and offer a support line? NO, so bugger off your soap box and stop spouting unhelpful claptrap

and I spent many years working with HV and SS and I can say, I have been very grateful for the supportive HV who have caught cases earlier than anyone else could have and saved a poor child abuse and neglect.

Thistledew Sun 30-Jan-11 18:22:12

Don't listen to anything the OP is saying. Everyone knows that all police officers think that everyone is a criminal and should be treated as being guilty until proven innocent.

(Or am I over-generalising?)

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 18:30:01

Lisa, can i ask you something as i am curious about it, please dont jump on me. Have you ever known of HV's refer a family and they have been wrong about them. This is what happened to me and it was a very worrying time. Although i knew i had done no wrong the worry was how do i prove etc. Ive said in my previous post i have had 2 HV's who were great with the 1st and 3rd, but 2nd seems to have a bad reputation for being extremely critical. A mum at the school also told me of a friend of a friend in another part of the country whos daughter was playing with a ball. She slipped on the top of the ball fell onto wood flooring and broke her leg. The docs at the hospital said she could not have sustained her injury from this. They were passed to social services. Their case ended up going to court and they paid for an independant medical report or something from 3 doctors saying that it was likely that the break could have been caused by this. Obviously i got told this whilst my daughter was being refered to SS's so i was ill ith worry.

NonnoMum Sun 30-Jan-11 19:54:43

OP - I'm slightly concerned about how relevant your advice will be when your daughter-in-law produces your DG.

One of the reasons that I valued the advice from my HV was that she was aware of the latest research which informs parenting advice these days.

My mother is a wonderful and doting grandmother, but if she gave me advice from her generation it would be this

- you don't need a car seat, just carry the baby on the lap in your car... (um, isn't that illegal now, mum??)

- after giving birth, what you will need is a nice cup of tea and a cigarette (said to my auntie after her home birth 45 years ago)

- lay the baby on its front

- a few days of breastfeeding is fine, then a bottle of cows milk will go down a storm

- if the baby cries, leave it at the bottom of the garden in its pram with a cat net over it (were cats more predatory in t'olden days??)

-wean at 3 months, or a bit earlier if the baby isn't sleeping through the night

- oh, and don't worry about getting up to let the community midwife in, you will have the luxury of a two week spell in hospital.

So, can I just give a big HOORAY for all the well-infomred HVs out there who can help put over-bearing (and sometimes patronising and paranoid) grandparents in their place?

wink

of course I wont jump on you
I haven't known any HV to refer for wrong reason, but know ones who are a little over zealous in their actions but normally ss are pretty good at sorting this out.
As for friend, ss would have had to have a doctor say the break was non acciental for them to have taken it to court, so either your friend wasnt honest with you or doctor wasnt with them.
If you want to PM me any questions feel free, most people here know me if that helps.

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 23:09:31

I was just curious, thankfully ss were lovely. I think people have a fear of them but i felt much more reassured after speaking to them. As i pointed out the other 2 HV's are great. Unfortunatly the one for my 3rd daughter left the practice and they have put me back on 2nd daughters HV's list. I dont have to see her though as i have the no for my 1st daughters HV and i speak to her if i have any concerns. Obviously now i worry about my 3rd daughter having an accident and i have to take her to hospital. Thanks and goodnight im off to bed.

fifi25 Sun 30-Jan-11 23:10:28

i meant people have a fear os ss.

i wouldnt worry too much, i burnt DD1 with hot oil when she came running to the kitchin and tbh hospitals know most of the time if its an accident.

nunnie Mon 31-Jan-11 08:34:31

"omg, you really need to calm down. HV do make notes, they have to, its their job! and secondly they dont tend to go out to families unless they need to, in otherwords they have a concern or have been asked to go. They havent got time to see everyone and I havent seen one in 2years!"

I am confused Lisa, are you saying that when I had a health visitor with both my children when my midwife discharged me to their care, was because there was a concern? I am pretty sure it is standard practice, but maybe you could clarify.

RobynLou Mon 31-Jan-11 08:39:03

it's standard practice to do one or two visits, they generally only do home visits later on if there's a problem, depends on the area though.
mine came out when I had pnd, only gave me a quick call when dd broke her arm though.
I don't think it's possible to underestimate the good some HVs do for women with pnd.

It varies from area to area. Our health visitors do home visits when your baby is tiny, and then you go to the children's centre. My friend in a different part of the UK - her midwife did house visits, whereas I went to the GPs. It's not the same everywhere.

nunnie Mon 31-Jan-11 08:42:06

Oh thank you, I thought so, only saw her about 3 times with both at home, then for jabs and reviews in clinic.

jammiedodger2 Tue 01-Feb-11 22:56:52

I'm so relieved. I'm a hv and was expecting some serious hv bashing (really shouldn't read these threads) but it seems to be pretty much what I have experienced as a mum. mainly good, the odd bad experience.
What I am loving is the OP suggestion that I am a spy for the government on a par with MI5/6. Makes my job sound very glamorous and exciting! grin

NonnoMum Wed 02-Feb-11 13:56:48

jammie I was cheerleading for HVs and their uptodate knowledge of carseats/baby drop ins/latest weaning advice, but no one noticed...wink

faverolles Wed 02-Feb-11 18:20:44

I had a visit from a spy health visitor this morning.
She was lovely. Knows all about Tongue tie so is able to advise us about ds.
After reading this thread, I was slightly worried (and ds is my fourth) so what will a first time mother feel reading this?
Irresponsible posts op!

Chickchickchickchickchickpea Wed 02-Feb-11 20:02:14

Ok so just to clarify - is it a good idea to speak to a hv if you're struggling or not?

I'm a single mum with not much support and I've been feeling pretty crap for quite a while. I had just about plucked up courage to go and speak to my hv about it but I'm having second thoughts now! Will they come round and inspect my house and spy on me?

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 02-Feb-11 20:11:50

sad that this dumb thread has made you feel this way Chick - I'm sure someone who has experience of what you are going through will reassure you but HVs are there to support not spy. My DSis also a single mum and needing help with various issues at the moment but everyone from the various services (health / social) has been supportive and sympathetic and NOT been making notes on her furniture and cleanliness.

Chickchickchickchickchickpea Wed 02-Feb-11 21:53:20

Thanks Tondelayo, thats good to know. I've never had to take dd to A&E and I don't think they would have any reason to be concerned for her safety but I wonder if they will question why I didn't tell them I felt depressed sooner or why I didn't tell them dp had left. Is that likely to be a cause for concern do you think?

MrsJamesMartin Wed 02-Feb-11 22:00:04

Chick, you don't have to update your HV on your relationships. It is something that will come up when you speak to them because they will ask about your support systems (family and friends).

Being depressed does not make you a bad or incompetent parent. Seeking help to improve your health and, consequentially, your childs health is something that takes courage and that should be recognised.

Please speak to your HV if you feel able to. They can help you access support on an on going basis, this may well be via your local children's centre.

Your HV should be honest with you about confidentiality and her duties with regard to child protection from the outset, so you both know where you stand.

jammiedodger2 Wed 02-Feb-11 22:03:27

Chick
Please tell your HV. When I had my first dd I had post-natal depression and my Health Visitor was an absolute life saver, she just gave me time and space to talk. She is one of the reasons I went into Health Visiting.
As with all professions there are the exceptions but the majority of us are very passionate about supporting parents, especially if they are having a tough time.
If you were one of my mums I might tell you I wish you had told me earlier that things were so hard but only because I would want to support you, not because you have to tell me your business.
Please take care of yourself
j
x

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 02-Feb-11 22:06:45

Good luck chick I hope you get the help you need. smile

Valpollicella Wed 02-Feb-11 22:06:58

Chick, no they absolutely won't! Please speak to them

And if for whatever reason you don't feel comfortable with the advice given, you can see another HV.

NonnoMum Wed 02-Feb-11 22:11:08

I have a friend who had very premature twins, and could hardly leave the house for the first year for fear of infection.

Her HV became her life-saver, confidant, even friend.

Chickchickchickchickchickpea Wed 02-Feb-11 22:25:53

Thank you, you're all so lovely! I will speak to one of the hvs at clinic next week.

reallytired Wed 02-Feb-11 22:42:45

Chickchickchickchickchickpea, have you thought of phoning your health visitor. It would give you more privacy than a baby clinic.

"You may scoff, but there have already been cases of bugging microchips being inserted into children's computers to discover what they are viewing."

Skimmed the rest, but grin

I think you'll find there's no need to insert special microchips into a computer, there are plenty there already.

I've only been visited by a HV once, she said she didn't need to come again. I must have passed or something.

ps you are a fruitloop.

Chickchickchickchickchickpea Wed 02-Feb-11 23:36:16

I did think of that reallytired but I haven't seen my named hv for ages and I don't know if she still works there! I thought I could just mention it to whoever I see when I get dd weighed, I'd probably be too nervous to just phone and come out with it!

Valpollicella Wed 02-Feb-11 23:43:22

Chick, please don't fall into waht I did.

I got worried that me being low (read PND) would show up on files and SS records (how I wish I knew of MN.....)

So I didn;t speak to anyone about it all. And I had a miserable first year with my DS.

The ridiculous thing is, that when I came out of it I was advising all, left right and centre to speak to HV's etc because they could help hmm

Please please speak to people like the HV and spare yourself the misery some of us go through because we are too scared.

There is NOTHING to worry about.

<kicks self 3.5y ago>

Amieesmum Thu 03-Feb-11 00:26:42

Ok - i'm sorry i only read to page two of this thread so apologys if i tread on anyones toes or repeat stuffs, but was SO annoyed by the PO i just had to reply tonight despite my sleepy state!

For one this yes HV's do access you as well as the baby in question, however they aren't monsters as a rule (some are) the more experienced ones can spot abuse/ neglect and need for help a mile off by doing this, and if it saves lifes why the hell shouldn't they?!?1

Secondly, Both my grandma & my Aunt who i'm very close to are health visitors - My aunt currently a regional HV for a well known nursery. AND both of them, are a wealth of knowledge & comfort to me.

My own HV was a little rubbish, my dd failed all hearing assesments as a baby but she didn't think this was a problem (turned out dd is pretty much deaf)

I just want to say, don't judge your HV before you've met them, if you are unhappy with them AFTER you have met them fair enough, don't let them in, have your baby weighed & checked else where, but honestly some HV's are a godsend and are seriously amazing. I've met a good few (and not just the ones in the family)

yeahforreal Sun 17-Feb-13 11:08:30

Dear Bisonx,
many thanx for your info and your posts , I agree with you one hundred per cent, its a shame more people did not listen, all they had to do was a bit of research and found out the truth , however there are loads of government workers on websites posting misinformation. I have recently returned to the UK from France. My 17 month old has never had an HV , the French medical profession DO NOT invite themselves into your home and spy. My daughter had monthly check ups at the Doctors and has excellent health . I registered my lo at the Docs here and made sure all her vaccines are up to date. Today I received a letter from an HV telling me she is coming to my home for a visit next week. I am absolutely LIVID. An HV MUST be invited into your home. An HV is optional, so I have no idea where this lady had the balls to write and tell me she is coming to my home. I do not need her help , I have attended 3 different Universities in 3 different countries and I am no dummie. HEY LADY , if I need your help I will ask for it. Any profession connected with the Government has a hidden adgenda, its time for you to WAKE UP PEOPLE, just do a quick google and you will know the truth. Most of the workers are not even aware that they are being used for other purposes, they are brain washed into thinking they are doing a great job and helping people. They may be helpful , am sure they are , but just be aware they could be smiling assasins. Just do some research people , it will hurt you none and cost you nothing , and treat a clever qualified man with more respect in future. Thanx Bisonx , if you care to look further I recommend info wars dot com. "They must find it hard to take Truth for Authority who have so long mistaken Authority for Truth." Gerald Massey (1828-1904)

MiaowTheCat Mon 18-Feb-13 10:58:20

I don't trust mine an inch - I'm under no illusion she's NOT keeping tabs on me... hence trotting dutifully to baby clinic more regularly than most would endure, smiling sweetly (the one time I mentally tuned out while waiting, the nursery nurse helping with baby weighing decided she'd diagnose me with PND - I was thinking about what I needed to buy in Tescos FFS - and has persued this endlessly - despite me being seen regularly by the GP and having a completely different diagnosis on my mental health) and basically playing the game.

In reality I have no right to refuse their involvement - I had a malicious SS referral made by the hospital I gave birth at for questioning the use of forceps on me - so, despite this being quickly dismissed, I have to keep myself whiter than white and have as much ammo in reserve proving I'm a good parent in case of any childhood bumps and grazes meaning we end up in hospital and the "known to SS" strike comes back to bite us again - and since I'd rather see the HV on my terms than hers - I tend to endure the hell of baby clinic to make sure they can tick the box that they've seen the baby recently and leave us the hell alone.

Under utterly no illusions though that I'm being monitored.

TaggieCampbellBlack Mon 18-Feb-13 11:11:09

Bonkers paranoid zombie thread.

JambalayaCodfishPie Mon 18-Feb-13 11:29:15

Ffs. Old threads need to be in a different colour or something!! grin

Lifeisontheup Mon 18-Feb-13 11:45:05

Perhaps Op you could let me know where your daughter works so I can avoid her?
I'm glad all the paediatricians I come into contact with are better educated and not full of such nonsense as are the police officers who work in child protection.
They are all more than happy to let a HV in to their homes nor do they have such an incredibly patronising view of nurses.

Lotta1234 Mon 18-Feb-13 16:26:08

Bisonex My experience of a health visitor and dealing with agencies somewhat clashes with your experience so worth sharing with other mumsnetters.

Our health visitor was very supportive when we had a social services investigation instigated by - drum roll - a paediatrician.

We were found innocent, by the way, after five weeks of not being allowed on our own with our baby.

So much for your theory that paediatricians are amazing and health visitors suck.

I would always let a health visitor into my home and heartily recommend using health visitors. If you don't like the one you're assigned ask for another one.

Lotta1234 Mon 18-Feb-13 16:38:51

I've started a new thread where positive stories about HVs can be shared and where you can give tips on how to deal with issues that people might encounter with a HV:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/childbirth/1687215-Positive-health-visitor-stories-and-tips

yeahforreal Mon 18-Feb-13 21:54:40

Dear Lotta1234 ,

http://www.thealphaparent.com/2011/08/health-visitors-help-or-hindrance.html

have a read , very interesting , any numpty can legally call themselves an HV . Time to be more careful with whom you are giving access to your children . Just say no people.

flyingbebe Tue 19-Feb-13 17:01:00

I'm training to be a child nurse and on my course, I do several placements in different areas such as health visiting. I know what OP thinks of nurses, so I'll make it brief.

There will be awful HVs. Just like there will be awful nurses, awful doctors, awful bus drivers, awful politicians etc. In all professions, there will be a small miniority that give a bad name to the rest. I'm sorry for everyone on this thread that got a bad health visitor.

All healthcare professionals are aware of the possibility of neglect, not trying to find evidence, just being aware of the signs.

You can refuse your HV entry into your home. They are there to give you the NHS advice on various things like feeding the baby, immunisations and maintaining the baby's temperature. You can ignore the advice. The HV will do health checks on the baby like weight, head circumference and asking you how they have been. They can also provide support if you have any questions and concerns.

On my placement with the HVs, they were incredibly busy. They do not have time to go into an in-depth assessment of your family and they do not want to. If you're happy, the baby's happy, then everything's fine.

flyinmytea Tue 19-Feb-13 17:34:15

Tarah !!!!! I have just retired from a health visiting post flying all the flags.

I am amazed that I am a numpty?????never knew that. Also don't know anything about about anything?????.yeahforreal Health visitors are all registered nurses. They are very experienced in different nursing backgrounds. The Public Health Nurse qualification is a post graduate qualification. I completed a post grad diploma in a year. Yeah I am deffo mad. All nurses are registered with the NMC. I am not 60. But I did want to retain whatever is left of my mental health for my own future.

In fact I loved most of the families I visited. I did help some they told me
I did challenge others they told me too. The families I will miss the most are the mums who were real characters and regularly took me to task. Like a good argument (discussion) me. However In the continuing climate of reducing staffing and resources I felt I could not offer a service when it was needed most. If you need a bit of support you shouldn't have to run after a health visitor. I also felt unable to deliver a meaningful service to children who were potentially at risk for lots of reasons. The job is about helping families avoiding crisis not snooping. AND I didn't want to be the next health visitor pilloried for not "knowing" that a child was at risk because of parental avoidance and lying...

yeahforreal Tue 19-Feb-13 20:44:03

FLYINMYTEA
I never called Health visitors numpties. IF YOU have the reading and understanding level of your average HV , I AM NEVER letting them near my family. What it means is that , ANY person , with no qualifications (not even a certificate in art) , can legally call themselves an HV . DO YOU understand that ?
www.nurseryworld.co.uk/news/985756/Legal-status-health-visitors-restored-says-union/

Health visitors SHOULD be qualified nurses , but it may not always be true.

As for nurses , well , I started a nursing course and left after 2 weeks , not for me thanks , I am not buying this propaganda thank you very much. My degree is in Engineering. The first thing I learnt on the nursing course was AUTONOMY. Where was my RIGHT to autonomy when that HV sent me a letter stating that she was coming to my property?
The nursing and HV careers TEND to attract bossy , meddling , IN YOUR FACE, agressive , alpha females , that are usually going through the menopause and don't like taking no for an answer.
(The same females you find working on the reception at the job centre , I have had to tell her to back off too). They spend a lot of time in peoples' homes and their work is rarely challenged and they are rarely checked on . I have NEVER had a GP demand entry to my property , so what give this HV an elevated sense of superiority ? Keep away , nosey , meddling , interfering bossy boots . Go spy on someone else. Even with all the checks in the world there will still be kids at risk, sad but true . The media hype the risk so that the gov can send HV's into your home .Look at the recent food crisis , instead of looking for problems INSIDE the home , we should be looking at the REAL people posing risks to our kids.
Anyway , I am sorry you did not understand my previous post.

Lifeisontheup Tue 19-Feb-13 22:52:27

You could call yourself a Health Visitor with no qualifications but you would never get a job in the UK working for a GP surgery or any trust.

Please do not spread such ridiculous assertions, even the blog you linked to did not say that anyone could get a job as a health visitor merely that it is not a protected title. Rest assured that trusts in the UK would be checking the qualifications of anyone employed by them.
Thank heaven you left nursing after two weeks, I wouldn't want you near any member of my family in a caring capacity.

yeahforreal Tue 19-Feb-13 23:55:26

Lifeisontheup I never said you could get a job in the UK working for a GP surgery or any trust , however , what I HAVE said is true,you do not deny it. It is not ridiculous assertions ,it is checkable facts that I have posted. And I would have no interest in going near you or any member of your family , thank you very much .
I was never rude to you , do not be rude to me. Maybe you should re-read the posts and try and understand them before you accuse me of saying things that I have not said.

This is a discussion on HV's . Lest's not start name calling , it is a commonly used tactic when someone is losing an argument to try and go off on a tangent.
HV's are used by NHS to try to replace some of the Doctors work, to try to save money . In France , my daughter was seen every month by a GP for developmental checkups. As a mother it is my duty to demand the best and protect my lo. I want a GP not a questionably qualified HV. There is no need at all for an HV to come to your home at all , none, whatsoever . It is spying , no more , no less. You may not like what I am saying , but it is fact . And don't bother accusing me of saying things I have not said. If you want to dispute anything I have said then do so, but make sure you check your facts first.

Jenny123G Wed 20-Feb-13 04:44:12

Is this a joke? Seriously?

Lifeisontheup Wed 20-Feb-13 09:07:11

"In order to train as a health visitor, you must first qualify and register as a nurse or midwife. You will then need to take an approved programme in specialist community public health nursing/health visiting (SCPHN/HV)." Source www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore-by-career/nursing/careers-in-nursing/health-visiting/skills,-qualifications-and-training/ Accessed 20/02/13

Hardly a dubious qualification.

The idea that all health visitors do is spy is not fact, it is your opinion.

yeahforreal Wed 20-Feb-13 15:06:48

My posts are a mixture of facts and opinions , the last time I checked we were allowed to state our opinions. As I have previously pointed out , any one can legally call themselves an HV. An older nurse may have years of experience and have very little qualifications , becoming a nurse before the current levels of qualifications required were brought in . I went to school with a nurse , she sat and failed her 'O' Level Biology twice. Took her 3 years and she still failed it. I sat the same exam in 1 year , and passed . Do I want her checking my daughter and giving me advice ? absolutely not. I will have a GP thanks. I have never done HV training , and I have the right to call it a dubious qualification, whether you disagree or not, it's only my opinion. I never said ALL they do is spy , I belive they do also get the scales out sometimes.... Don't accuse me of saying things I have never actually said. Some of the work they do is good , but lets not pretend the hidden adgenda is not there . Lets ask an HV ? What exactly is the purpose of a home visit ? Is there achild abuse/neglect element involved ? I am sure they will tell you YES. Although we need to be careful of the replies we get , as previously stated , anyone can legally call themselves an HV , even Donald Duck.

Flisspaps Wed 20-Feb-13 15:22:02

ZOMBIE THREAD

flyingbebe Wed 20-Feb-13 22:56:54

Anyone can legally call themselves a Health Visitor - I'm sure that's correct.

Then again, I'm sure that you would ask to see someone's badge if they rang your doorbell and called themselves a Health Visitor. You could always call the GP's surgery and double check that so-and-so is employed and if they are, they would be a qualified nurse or midwife (sometimes both) with the health visitor training on top of that.

Please stop making out all health visitors to be the devil incarnate.

yeahforreal Thu 21-Feb-13 03:03:09

Of course they are not the devil incarnate . I am just mad as hell that an HV contacted me and told me she was coming to my home. Never asked , she was telling me. When I phoned up you know what the other one said ? "Well you have to appreciate that most people want us to make appointments for them." ARRRRGHHHHHHH , I do not have to appreciate anything you sanctimonius old bag. I refuse to believe that most people WANT you inviting yourselves into their homes, they probably just grin and bear it , not me , I will just tell you just to p off and suffer the consequences. Alpha females make me wanna puke.
I wish HV's could apologise for this rude ,disrespectful and obnoxious behaviour . I hope my rant has at least made HV's more sensitive to people not wanting them interfering. I feel sorry for the HV's , they are given more and more jobs of the GP (the mucky stuff) , without the actual wages. And most people that work for the Government , do not realise that they are not told the whole story. Here , fill in these forms , its just routine , a normal requirement... blah blah , but like the original poster said , it is data collecting . I know , I used to be a Government worker too. Anyway , rant over . I apologise for my obnoxious attitude , and I sure aint no zombie. I hope I made a few people think a bit more about the original post , the gentleman was correct.
I will not be checking an HV's identity badge if they ring my doorbell , they will be told to about turn , quick march. It's time the people demanded GP's for their childrens health , they pay the taxes and dont get the service they deserve. Peace to all.
"They must find it hard to take Truth for Authority who have so long mistaken Authority for Truth." Gerald Massey (1828-1907) .The truth is out there , seek and ye shall find.

NandH Thu 21-Feb-13 05:02:20

[Biscuit]

are you a member of the f.b.i?

NandH Thu 21-Feb-13 05:03:39

I'm going to re attempt a biscuit as you deserve it so much....

biscuit

TheFallenNinja Thu 21-Feb-13 06:02:09

What an utter crock of shit.

hazeyjane Thu 21-Feb-13 06:49:09

Our Hv did a developmental assessment on ds in our home, when he was 7 months old, she helped us supported us and listened to our fears. She referred us not to paediatricians, who have a lot of respect for her. Please don't try and paint them in such a negative light when they can be such a support for some people.

StuntNun Thu 21-Feb-13 07:02:28

This thread is a couple of years old. I hope its revival doesn't make any new mothers or mothers-to-be worry about seeing their HV.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 27-Feb-13 11:36:00

Hello everyone,

I am relatively new to mumsnet and I joined after having read these threads about what people think of the Health Visiting Service.

I am a registered Children's Nurse and I work within a team of 5 Health Visitors, all of whom are brilliant and worth their weight in gold. We cover some very deprived areas and the amount of Child Protection cases would probably surprise people. Without Health Visitors being there to spot this abuse I dread to think how many children would be at risk.

On average a Health Visitor would have only 4-5 routine contacts with a family (between the baby's birth and becoming 4 years of age) and that service would be optional which is always explained to parents. If mothers want to come to Baby clinics then they can, and if not then we aren't concerned - we certainly don't get suspicious about it. I would estimate that 95% of the families we deal with are more than happy to accept our service and seem to appeciate our advice and support. The Health Visitors work with the families that need them for a whole host of reasons and that support is always appreciated. They do not have the time to "spy" on families and make notes on whether the washing up has been done or not - that is an absurd allegation. Our prime concern is that both baby and mother are happy and healthy.

cath889 Fri 05-Apr-13 22:17:44

I think people should stay away from this ridiculous thread, the overall majority of this thread has been positive about health visitors or their encounters with them have not been so positive but truthful. However the fact that someone is actually spreading fear that health visitors are not qualified is bonkers. I completed my nurse training in 2005, have been working on the wards and in theatre since then and am now waiting to start my 1 year course to become qualified as a health visitor. Just because you are educated doesn't mean you know everything. Health visitors ARE qualified. Stop scaring first time mums its a stressful time anyway without the scaremongering and lies.

cath889 Fri 05-Apr-13 22:20:04

Can I also add I am 32, nowhere near the menopause (I don't think) and in no way am I an alpha female, quite the opposite in fact

I've had some lousy advice from HVs in my time, but one absolutely saved my family from some realy nastiness, as well as being the only person who took seriously our concerns about our ds.

As a profession, I both angry with them and grateful. I guess like any other, there are good people and bad, and in many professions like theirs, cuts and constant reorganisation can mean that training as well as proper monitoring of conduct isn't as good as it probably should be.

EverythingInMjiniature Fri 05-Apr-13 23:55:13

How on earth is your daughter a 'proper paediatrician' at 26?

5 years med school, 2 years foundation training, 8 years paediatric training from 18 = at least 33. She is ST1 maximum, surely?

If you REALLY want to know about a profession that has no respect for privacy, then research Bounty!

croydondad Thu 20-Jun-13 03:16:33

my hv is a complete bitch she is like a miss hitler/obrien her words are gospel I questioned her opinion once and she threatened me saying "IF YOU DONT DO WHAT I TELL YOU I WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE VERY DIFFICULT"
how is this helping me to be a good parent when I have advice that goes against everything I believe to be best for my child now .
now I have to see many different child specialists putting my child through a lot of discomfort with blood tests ?? how does a blood test check a childs development and speech anyway???
I have been reffered to speech therapy , been discharged by speech therapy with no concerns, yet the hv refers me straight back again to supposedly help with development.
we have been accused of child abuse but this has been dismissed as a mollitous attempt at causing me as a loving parent as much harassment as she possibly can .
I have had the police family liason officers round to check our home , social services have been involved all with no further action .

SO HOW CAN YOU HV FRIENDLY MUPPETS THINK THESE HEALTH VISITORS ARE THERE TO HELP US NORMAL PEOPLE IN OUR NORMAL LIVES WHEN THEY WAIST OUR NHS MONEY ON POINTLESS CHECKUPS AND ASSESMENTS

FoofFighter Fri 21-Jun-13 13:44:43

Shocked that MN have allowed this utter twaddle to be left on here for 2 years, reported in the hope it gets removed hmm

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