Advanced search

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.

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


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


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

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

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?

NeedToSleepZZZ Sat 29-Jan-11 20:44:39

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


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....

LadyintheRadiator Sat 29-Jan-11 20:50:49

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


"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


"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.


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


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


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.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now