To ask where all these mythical HVs are?(66 Posts)
I have seen at least 4 threads today where mumsnetters have recommended the OP talk to her health visitor. And not just for babies, children of all ages.
Who and where are these mythical health visitors with their bounteous wisdom? I met mine ONCE after DS was born. She never turned up for the 6 week check. My local child health clinic has also closed down, so I can't go a-questing for one there.
Am I alone in this?
We are mega fortunate to still have our HV - my DS are 5 and 3 but are both disabled. She has been great at referring us for various services.
I’ve met mine twice. One week after dd was born and the 6 week check. I am meeting her again next week as I was diagnosed with PND and the doctor contacted her. They run a baby clinic each week but it’s in the most miserable church hall I’ve ever seen, I would literally never choose to take dd there except for a quick weigh in then out as quick as possible.
Ours have been absolutely useless. I honestly don’t see the point in them. I’ve had “care” from 2 health visitors from 2 different parts of the country. My youngest needed referrals and help and I rang them numerous times and no one rang me back or if they did they didn’t turn up. I ended up going straight to the gp who rolled his eyes and said not to bother with health visitors go straight to him. Useless service
Similar boat to you OP! Met her once after my son was born. She was meant to so the next check, didn't hear from her for weeks after. Finally received a voicemail saying sorry she missed us and now wouldn't see us until the 1 year check?!
I have tried called for advise on weaning and it took 3 days and 2 calls to speak to a HV.
Our local children's centre has no HV so is all self weigh etc.
We saw various HVs until our youngest's 5th birthday. After that, you can make an appointment with the school nurse.
I've seen mine at home four times since DS was born, he's eleven weeks now. There is a HV drop in clinic morning and afternoon across several locations every weekday in my area, you can drop in whenever for support, or just weighing etc. There are also specific groups and drop ins every week for BF, weaning, preemies, multiples and then just stay and play and baby time all with at least one HV present. So loads of access here.
Ours have been great. I would often give them a call for advice when kids have been very young. There has been a high turnover of staff, I’ll give you that, but when I’ve needed them, I’ve phoned up, found the new one, and had the appropriate response.
There are about half as many of them and they are out doing casework with at risk children. Or thats the case in my area.
Mine was fab. She does a weekly drop in at the health centre and a monthly one in the local village.
It's school nurse I had a problem finding...made 2 appointments with her and she didn't turn up to either. After the 2nd she phoned and said she wouldn't see me as dc was only 4 and they won't deal with DC until they were 5 and to go see my HV. She did turn up to do DC's BMI check that I had opted out of though... Go figure!!!
So it sounds as though it's very much luck of the draw depending on where you live. Funny though, I live in a city and near two big hospitals so you'd think they'd be on tap!
My HV was a chocolate tea pot type.
In hindsight the little bits she did where more dangerous than helpful for both me and ds
I saw ours a few times after having my last and there are daily clinics spread over the district if you want to see one, all of which I can reach within 25 mins, the nearest a 5 min drive away. I didn’t realise I was so lucky! I presumed all areas were the same.
My third baby is 6 weeks old. I saw the HV at 36 weeks pregnant, when the baby was 2 weeks old and have another appointment next week. She’s the same HV I saw at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 10 months and 2 years with DC2, so she’s definitely around and available.
Shame she’s absolutely useless
HV's have been cut by 50% with all the ending cuts to local authority budgets so now mostly just do safeguarding. More like social workers than nurses these days.
I never had any direct contact with HVs since mine were tiny, but found we saw ‘floating’ ones when we attended certain playgroups in our borough. They would try and push vitamins etc and ask if we were all ok/coping/making suggestions etc. Honestly, people were put off by them, the general gist was “if I want to see a health visitor, then I’ll ask to see one”. I never saw them at my home or at the GP surgery.
I know HV caseload has changed from 0-5 to 0-17. I imagine this has made them 1) leave in droves, 2) a helluva lot harder to get hold of, 3) find a decent one.
Ours is totally decent. We haven't really needed her help, but I'm confident that if I did need it, she'd be sensible and supportive. But appreciate that we may be in the minority!
We have a lovely health visitor. Helps that she got back from may leave just 2 weeks before DS was born.
lifeisabeach yikes that's a jump! And therefore makes more sense why mine is so elusive in a big city.
I'm lucky that MIL is a nurse so I can ask her with any worries, or I'd be forever hammering on my GP's door!
My HV is fantastic, I’ve seen her quite a few times since my last child was born 20 months ago.
We live in a small village, in a rural area, but luckily we have a children’s centre in the village that the HV team work from. A lot of play groups are on there, I always had all my midwife appointments there etc so the HVs are easily accessible. And with it being a small area rather than a big city, I guess they have less families to deal with so can have a bit more of a relationship with them than if they were swamped.
This all depends on where you are
In wales most cities are covered by flying start meaning your HV will see you twice antenatally, 2 weeks post natal then every week until 6 weeks then 8 weeks then 12 weeks, weaning visit at 16w, 6m, 9m, 12m, 15m, 18m, 21m, 27m and 3.5 years
It's still 0-5 here
I know things are dire for HVs in England mostly now privatised and target driven
Many HVs in England are leaving as it's unsatisfying, soul destroying and unsafe
Unfortunately there aren’t enough health visitors to go round. Unless an area is huge there will most likely be 3/4 health visitors per town plus a nursery nurse or two if you’re lucky, but most likely 1 plus a student health visitor or 2.
The health visitors usually perform all initial assessments within 14 days of a baby being born, during which they have to decide if the mum is at risk of PND or whether her follow up can be left to someone else.
Baring mind the someone else will either be a student health visitor or nursery nurse meaning that the Health visitor still has ultimate responsibility and if the nursery nurse / student health visitor makes the wrong call it’s on the health visitors shoulders.
If the patient can’t be left to someone else eg they have PND or other issues within the family the HV has to sort out the care for the mother and child and liase with people to get safeguards in place.
They then have to deal with things like prolonged jaundice and referral to a&e for this.
They deal with things like failure to thrive, again needing paeds, parents with concerns about the child, parents with mental health issues etc.
Then you have your child protection. Which takes up chunks and chunks of time in visits to the family, and child protection proceedings, which can involve visits to lots of places, then you have the training of student health visitors, running baby clinics as it usually is a health visitor that does that, then there’s the messages waiting every day from parents that need help and have phoned up. Then there’s the vulnerable families that could slip through the net like refugees, women in women’s shelters, then there are the homeless shelters too that also are frequented by families. Then on top of that you have to try and run healthy eating clinics for parents. Added to that you have the visits that are pre arranged but then no access which means the visit has to be arranged again, then the referrals from other agencies like a&e, GP’s and walk in centres that need follow up.
So to be honest if you’re low risk it’s easy to be missed which isn’t ideal but I can’t see that changing any time soon as no one wants to fund the service.
I've had contact with HV in 3 differ counties. In the first, they were "pop in once and never seen again". But the other two locations have been great. Really helpful.
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