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Infant feeding service decommissioned

(14 Posts)
Snuffleump Mon 16-Feb-15 20:00:34

I'm incensed, I've heard today that they're planning to totally cut the infant feeding service in my area. Apparently it's already been cut it in other areas.
All feeding issues will be dealt with by the health visiting team, as if they aren't stretched enough.

Ugh! I think I'm going to have to write a strongly worded letter.

Does anyone live in areas where it's already been cut? Is it as awful as I'm imagining?

SquirmOfEels Mon 16-Feb-15 20:06:09

This has totally passed me by. What's an Infant Feeding Service? I don't think we've ever had one round here.

ZenNudist Mon 16-Feb-15 20:17:00

I hope that won't happen where I live. HVs god bless em are a mixed bunch. Even if they were able to provide the kind of help needed (and some can't), They couldn't possibly cope with demand given how many women struggle.

I really leaned on our service which is largely staffed by volunteer 'peer supporters' with one lactation consultant stretched really thinly but does a great job. There was a group you could go to every day, in community and children's centres around the area, and it really helped to be able to access face to face support easily and quickly.

Why would they knock that on the head. The funds they'd save would be minimal?

Makes me angry that the government jobs are safe and well paid but anything frontline helping vulnerable people and staffed by hardworking people paid a pittance is fair game.

Snuffleump Mon 16-Feb-15 21:16:49

ZenNudist I agree, in my area there are 3 support groups a week run predominantly by peer supporters, 2 lactation consultants working in the community and I think 2 working at the hospital although I could be wrong.

I'm actually training to be a peer supporter at the moment, I'm quite concerned how it will work having noone to refer women to if they have an issue that's not easily resolved.

OhMjh Tue 17-Feb-15 09:05:42

I do. I've had massive problems feeding my EBF 12 week old and as of today, I'm starting formula top ups/mixed feeding as she seems to have developed breast aversion bar night/early morning feeds. Apparently she's 'too old' for the breast feeding drop in at the hospital, HV was useless and there's no one else.

I am equally angry. They push and push breast feeding as this holy grail yet the second you leave hospital, you're on your own and then condemned if you have a problem.

Snuffleump Tue 17-Feb-15 19:25:39

Oh that's just awful, that's the problem, they must think the drop in is the provision but if they limit it to young babies what's the point?! I expect they have to or they'd be overwhelmed but I totally agree that it feels like your set up to fail by the antenatal promotion.

makeminea6x Tue 17-Feb-15 19:29:23

Yes they've cut it in my area and not training any new peer supporters either. It's extremely frustrating. HV just don't have the training to deal with bf issues, or sometimes even giving routine advice! (I have nothing against HV but they just don't seem well trained regarding bf).

dylsmimi Tue 17-Feb-15 19:34:11

More and more savings to be made by councils means more and more services are being cut. This has been happening for a few years but now it is down to those services that have greater impact - think of cuts to older peoples services. It isn't right. Not sure if changes in government will help orbnot
very sad
i guess we will just have to rely on forums like here and friends to help when possible and an already stretched health visiting service or the gp sad

BictoriaVeckham Tue 17-Feb-15 19:48:29

I believe the cuts are coming from Public Health, so central Government funded these types of services in areas that had low BF rates. Cuts are all over and it is only a matter of time that front line services are effected.

It is the same in our area too but I'd prefer not to say where because it will out me.

First we had "changes" made to the services (weekly groups changed to appointment only; hospital lactation consultant removed and not replaced), we campaigned (petition) and submitted it to the NHS Executive Chair and his committee during a community monthly meeting they hold. We got the local paper involved (I was quoted as presenting on behalf of hundreds of 'angry' women). There was a lot of effort behind the scenes from several of us too (met with Director of Children's Services who the IFT came under, set up our own group but without an official IFT person, it couldn't be advertised by HV's or IFT). Basically, we changed absolutely nothing from what we did.

Red tape everywhere and the people that can make a difference would prefer to spend money elsewhere. The main message from the top (NHS exec) was that feeding support should come from charities such as NCT, La leche league or peer supporters. When I pointed out that peers supporters hadn't been trained for over 3 years, the next wave of new parents won't have even peer support.

dylsmimi Tue 17-Feb-15 20:00:06

I don't think its about "people who can make a difference prefer to spend money elsewhere"
i think people who are making difficult choices would prefer to continue the services but don't have much option about what has to be cut. If you look at what else is going in your area eg libraries, care for adults and disabled children etc etc its all part of a horrible bigger picture.
i just don't know what the answer is sad

BictoriaVeckham Tue 17-Feb-15 23:23:19

I don't disagree with you dylsmimi
(Perhaps a poor choice of words from me). The people we have come across do not value or understand how supporting breastfeeding can impact the future, in terms of health benefits therefore cost reductions (cancers, infections etc) so they'd prefer to cut it than another service which would have an immediate impact once removed (ie antenatal classes, community midwives)

It was clear within our campaign that savings needed to be "current" and have impact to the P&L account visibly; and unfortunately it is hard to quantify the benefits of breastfeeding in to £ savings.

For the OP definitely do research in to spending; I managed to find the salaries budget of the entire IFT and challenged them on the efficiency and flexibility of staff based on wages paid.

MrsCakesPrecognition Tue 17-Feb-15 23:28:44

Public Health in my area don't appear to give a flying fuck about infant feeding. I thought that services were a hotchpotch when the PCT were responsible, but the County Council are just letting all support fade away since they got handed responsibility.

Snuffleump Wed 18-Feb-15 09:39:44

Thanks for your replies. I hadn't thought about the bigger picture. You're right, I've been aware of cuts happening for a long time, this one just feels particularly important to me.
That's really interesting Bictoria, but it feels a bit bleak when you say that your campaign wasn't successful.

dylsmimi Wed 18-Feb-15 19:25:03

Its ok bictoria maybe just read it slightly too sensitively! I think whether the "people" in charge of the money give "a flying fuck" as mrscakes puts it depends on how high up/ budget responsibility they have perhaps?
if a whole load of cuts have to be made - libraries, children's centres, transport, care etc then maybe a service that hasn't sustained breastfeeding or increased it significantly with a causal link to long term obesity /cancer etc is more at risk?
it is cost savings for here and now which may well be storing up future problems sad
maybe the way forward is not trying to stop the cut of service or trying but planning for after to look at what support can be used after eg through children's centres if you have them, NCT, helping hvs etc? ??

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