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.

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