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To think Health Visitor home visits should be compulsory by law? Distressing content.

(187 Posts)
PeaceBeWithYou Thu 03-Oct-13 19:47:17

If you miss one, cancel one, are not in etc, another one should be scheduled within 3 month period and if it is again missed without adequate explanation, then police should be granted access with a HV to check on the children's welfare. Health and well being home visits should be scheduled up to the age of 10 perhaps?

Rather extreme but could this have prevented Hamzah Khan's terrible life and needless, horrifying death?

Agencies were involved with the mother but she was 'obstructive' apparently. That poor boy must have been starved from birth to be so stunted in his growth. No medical reasons have been given and also no medical professionals were aware of it so it seems. No mention that Hamzah was ever seen by a HV. The mother did not seek medical attention either sad.

Those other 5 DC in the house were also subjected to living in absolute filth and from some of the houses I've sen it is probably the tip of the iceberg.

We are too bloody worried about upsetting parents and not enough focus is on helpless DC IMO. The gloves should be off. If you have DC which are part of society, then society should take a firmer hand into ensuring their well being as it seems all too apparent that some parents can't be trusted.

One life saved or changed would be well worth it IMO.

itsnothingoriginal Thu 03-Oct-13 20:20:32

Early intervention is absolutely key. This HAS been cut by the present government whether certain newspapers choose to accept that cuts are responsible for a rise in these situations or not.

Parenting support services have been ruthlessly chopped by many councils (my DH works in this field). I think these support services were in a much better place to get to the truth of the situation and to 'join the dots' as were non- statutory and there to provide support and advice. Obviously child protection situations would be referred on and dealt with by statutory services.

Social services are at breaking point and this issue is still not being properly addressed by anyone in government.

Snog Thu 03-Oct-13 20:27:24

Bit of a blunt instrument and waste of resources for HVs to compulsorily visit everyone surely?

pining Thu 03-Oct-13 20:28:07

Maybe we do just need to go back to basics. Keep an eye out for neighbours, be helpful, and sometimes be nosey or interfering. I would rather make a phonecall that could be seen as OTT rather than sit back and assume someone else is dealing with it. It's definitely something we all have to take just a little bit of responsibility for surely?

ninjanurse Thu 03-Oct-13 20:29:00

Im a staff nurse in a health visiting team. We do the new birth visit at 10-14 days, a 6 week follow up visit at home, a one year check in clinic and two year check in clinic. If parents don't attend to the one and two year check we then visit them at home. However, if we can get in, all we can do is report to the GP that they are not engaging with the health visiting service. We have no powers to get into peoples homes. We also do transfer in visits to people who have moved into the area, to try and detect these children who are missed because they have been moved about so many times.

Obviously if we detect any other problems, post natal depression, mental health problems, domestic violence etc etc we follow these up and make more visits. It is very very difficult, people do hide things. In our team we all constantly worry whether we may have missed something with a child. Some families we have niggly worries about but no evidence to justify these feelings. We log our concerns, we do speak to any other agencies involved. It is worth mentioning that in the case of Daniel Pelka and Baby P, those mothers did engage with professionals, they attended appointments, and still professionals missed the signs.

I will be interested the Hamzah Khan case review. Paticularly as there were older children who would have at least been in contact with the school daily. I was shocked to see Hamzah had only been see by a health visitor once! and hadn't been registered with a GP til he was about 16 months old!

MurderOfBanshees Thu 03-Oct-13 20:31:36

We sent our HV away as she was actually making things harder for us. So no, I couldn't get behind compulsory HV visits. I don't know what the answer is though.

Jan49 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:42:15

Compulsory HV visits would require more HVs and more work, not less. They seem to have too much to do already.

When my ds was born over 20 years ago, an HV was supposed to visit each new mother daily for the first 21 days where we lived (UK). My HV made excuses from day1 (things like not wanting to disturb ushmm) and signed me off after a few weeks. I felt very let down. I would love to have had the extra reassurance of a professional calling daily that I could ask about things.

difficultpickle Thu 03-Oct-13 20:46:40

I agree with the OP and I speak as someone whose GP banned the HV from seeing ds (he was prem, she couldn't cope with him and after every one of her visits I got a call from our lovely GP telling me the things she had told him - which were seriously rubbish).

marriedinwhiteisbackz Thu 03-Oct-13 20:52:20

GPs and midwives should be identifying families at risk during the booking visits and HV's should be getting in contact with them and focusing on them.

My DS is 18 now (nearly 19). My HV didn't have the courtesy even to make an appointment for the first visit; when she came she couldn't complete the form properly, she couldn't follow instructions and make a referral in accordance with them and she was not sufficiently experienced to help me with breastfeeding. She could tell me that bf mothers put their babies first and bottle mothers put themselves first and that babies needed to breast feed but she was not capable of providing any constructive help - that's what the NCR was for and I went on to develop infective mastitis and a breast abscess and PND. She also did not have the capability to understand that the charts in the red book were not averages but medians.

She was rude, she was unhelpful and she was completely incompetent and YABU because no mother should have her time wasted in that manner.

Remembers too that I went to the filthy clinic upon her command once. It was dirty; the hv there was dirty and didn't care and couldn't operate the scales properly. When DS went on them they read -9oz I think which indicated he had lost 4oz. She wrote that in the book and didn't notice. I then pointed it out and asked for the scales to be reset she got arsy.

Compulsory HV visits - I think not - I'd rather dig out my eyeballs with rusty nails. Rudest most incompetent service I ever came across. I made a formal complaint that was upheld. I never saw a Health Visitor again - no point really if they were incapable. I also instructed my GP, in accordance with my legal rights, that when my subsequent children were born I did not wish to have any contact with the service.

The money spent on a bunch of nurses who don't want to actually nurse, who want to turn up late at 9am in the morning when they can't blame it on clinics, merely their inability to get out of bed and who have no basic courtesy or basic skills should be spent on the vulnerable in a focused and professional manner. Not wasted on the middle classes with planned children to whom they wish to be rude and insubordinate and make snarky comments when they enter their houses without an appointment "you do realise not everyone lives like this". Little bitch. It still hurts now- nearly 19 years later. The little cow made me grieve for those first few celebratory weeks.

I cannot believe how the subject of HVs still makes me angry and I will campaign for their abolition until the day I die.

marriedinwhiteisbackz Thu 03-Oct-13 21:00:37

Ninja Nurse for the initial visit does your profession not think it would be appropriate to telephone the mother and make a mutually convenient appointment rather than sending a letter 24 hours before to say you will arrive at 9am the next day. The letter arrived at 8.55 and I had to see the little madam in my nightie, unwashed with a hungry baby on that first visit. Do you guys really think that's the way to initiate constructive contact.

What would have been wrong with phoning me and making a proper appointment that was mutually convenient. The baby was about 10 days old, we were not at risk. I regard that as utterly disrespectful and totally unacceptable and I hope it isn't going on now.

A few months later the then head of the HV service in the UK was published in the Times I think as saying the role of the HV was to teach ignorant mothers the three C's. Cooking, Cleaning and Communications. That really helps embed co-operative relationships in my opinion and did everything to make me disengage from the service because frankly I am not ignorant I am a cordon bleu cook, my home is spotless and that little baby is in the top 1% intellectually of the UK population.

If the HV's want to generalise and refer to me as ignorant I venture to suggest they will get as good as they deliver and that is why I formally and in accordance with local health service protocols had them banned from contacting me every again.

AngelsLieToKeepControl Thu 03-Oct-13 21:02:08

I'm not sure what the answer is either, but compulsory HV checks are not it.

If I was forced to continue seeing mine after she came to see my 2 day old son and asked 'Oh does he look anything like your dead baby' because my oldest son died 3 years before, or another one who told me I was being selfish and putting my needs before that of my daughters for taking painkillers that meant I could no longer breast feed, although it meant I wasn't passing out from the pain, or another one who felt it appropriate to discuss a health issue I had with one of my children with my Mother in the middle of a supermarket because they vaguely knew each other, then I really don't know what I would have done tbh.

I think giving them the power to force themselves on people would do more harm than good.

ebwy Thu 03-Oct-13 21:03:01

Since we had social services here because the health visitor looked at our info (I have mental health issues, my fiance was "raised" in care) and decided my son's birthmark was a bruise... Triggering my depression and. Making it very hard for my fiance to bond with our son (to him, social workers are never bringing good news...) we've decided the judgemental prejudiced HV is not allowed anywhere near my children. And since her replacement (yes, I did give the HV service a chance) was more interested in her nails than doing her job, neither of them ever gave me qny actual support or advice... We've told their supervisor not to send another one. At this point I have no use for them. I can weigh my own baby, thanks, and that's all they did anyway.

80sMum Thu 03-Oct-13 21:03:55

I think there are simply not enough health visitors to go around nowadays. When my DCs were babies (30 years ago) we used to receive frequent (every 3 months or so) unannounced HV visits for each child's first 2 or3 years. By 'we' I mean everyone. The HV never made an appointment, she just turned up. I used to find it rather intrusive, but it did provide an opportunity to discuss any concerns I may have had about the children's diet, sleeping etc.

ConfusedPixie Thu 03-Oct-13 21:05:44

YABU. Having heard comments from HVs no my perfectly healthy but small 3yo charge over the past two years, I really disagree that they should have to have access to people unless they are wanted.

Schnullerbacke Thu 03-Oct-13 21:06:23

I think Germany has quite a good system but bearing in mind its a different health set-up to start with. Children from birth to school age are required by law to be seen by a GP / social worker. It is usually in the form of a physical developmental check-up once a year (twice or more a year in early years). The visit then gets logged on a database and if you have not been,they will send a reminder. If you still haven't taken your child for the check-up, then a social worker will visit you at home.

Am sure there are still failings with this system too, heaven knows we have enough of these cases too but at least it a start in the right direction....Those who want to evade the system always seem to manage...

joanofarchitrave Thu 03-Oct-13 21:14:33

'I would like to know why someone who should have been doing their job, didn't because they didn't have enough time knowing that a child could be being neglected?'

Seriously? I work with vulnerable adults. Do you expect me to work all night? I could do; there is plenty of work. What then? Do you expect me to work all the next day? And the day after that? When do I stop? There will always be more people I need to see. At what point would I become actively dangerous to the people I am seeing?

Don't you think that it would be better to stop work and rest? Don't you do better work once you have had a break? The people who work late (OK, they include me) are potentially dangerous because you need to be adequately rested to build relationships, negotiate, observe, get the job done right. My job is nothing like as stressful as a social worker's or a doctor's, but still, if I get it wrong, people suffer, and people die.

These cases are appalling in every way and there will be plenty to learn from every one. Just like there was in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and long before that, before these cases were even investigated.

Trigglesx Thu 03-Oct-13 21:15:37

Our health visitor was of the chocolate teapot variety. I did, however, take the DCs in to the surgery for regular checks anyway, so I hardly think they were concerned when I told them I didn't wish any further contact from the HV.

I don't think mandatory HV appointments are helpful. It's unworkable anyway. Mine wouldn't give a specific time - would only tell me the day and just expected me to be home when she got around to coming by. Not happening, lady. I have a life, thank you. hmm How is that supposed to work if both parents are full time workers that are not home during the day? Are they supposed to take a day off just for a health visit?

Most times in these situations, these children are already on the radar of SS and have slipped through the cracks. This is not something that mandatory HV visits would have fixed. This is something that better attention by those who were working with them (surgery, school, SS) would have possibly prevented.

PeaceBeWithYou Thu 03-Oct-13 21:17:04

Well of course funding would need to be found - priorities right? The cost of medical facilities and cost to society of abused children would surely negate that in the long run.

I am firmly of the camp that we don't own our children, their rights to a peaceful childhood in a sanitary, loving, safe environment totally trump any adult's suspicion of 'the authorities'.

Baby P's mother also refused access to her home if I recall. Yes the mother is the perpetrator but that argument is bullshit IMO. So basically children with abusive, neglectful, evil mothers/fathers/mother's boyfriends should just have to suck it up if the authorities don't get it right?

thehorridestmumintheworld Thu 03-Oct-13 21:17:37

Yabu hv should be there to check on baby and mums health and be supportive not to do a home inspection and upset vulnerable new mums. if mums are struggling a bit they need to feel comfortable asking for help and advise not feel they are being judged and if they do not perform perfectly the SS will be involved.
I understand why this case upset you of course but it is extremely unusual I have never heard of something like this happening before.

ninjanurse Thu 03-Oct-13 21:21:51

marriedinwhite - I always telephone and make an appointment for a new birth visit. If I cant get hold of the mum I will hand post a letter saying I will visit on x day but if this is not convenient please contact me.

It really saddens me to read all the bad experiences on HVs, I really strive to do the best I can for families and I really think and hope I am non judgemental and non patronising.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Thu 03-Oct-13 21:23:45

Yanbu. I have totally changed my views on HV visits etc following the recent proliferation of helpless toddlers and little children abused and tortured to death by their bastard wretched parents. I would now happily welcome random knock on the door visits for all households with small children. Don't give any notice, just turn up and check living conditions and the health and well being of children. Yes, it would be fucking annoying and inconvenient but I am sick of the evil cunt parents getting way with murder. Something drastic needs to be done to protect helpless babies.

passedgo Thu 03-Oct-13 21:24:16

I was thinking the same thing today. GP visits at several intervals, and a home visit for no-shows.

This country however is obsessed with a bizarre notion of liberalism that means people are offended by offers of help and call it a Nanny State when questions are asked. Then complain when people slip through the net.

jammiedonut Thu 03-Oct-13 21:25:36

Yabu to think that a hv would have much power to implement change. My DM is a hv, and a fantastic one at that, but she frequently finds her hands tied and has been unable on occasions to get a family the help they deserve through no fault of her own. In most of the cases quoted by pp the family are already known to ss, so not sure what compulsory visits from hv would achieve?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Thu 03-Oct-13 21:27:37

Well hopefully it would have been noticed that a four year old boy was comfortably fitting into a 6-9 month babygro and the desperately ill little mite would have been rushed to hospital sad

passedgo Thu 03-Oct-13 21:28:35

These cases are not unusual, one child dies every week at the handd of their carers. There will be another one next week. And those are the registered cases, the accidental deaths are recorded separately.

marriedinwhiteisbackz Thu 03-Oct-13 21:31:19

What's your view Ninja of the head of the HV service who was published as saying that HV's were there to teach ignorant mothers the three Cs?

After that I would have shut the door in their faces had I not already complained formally and made it clear they were not welcome in my home and that I would not be seeing them in their grubby clinics.

I'd like a professional view on one of your former leaders please.

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