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Health Visitor - do I have to have one?

(15 Posts)
pollybee Mon 14-Mar-05 18:37:54

I have never been a great fan of health visitors in general, and mine in particular, but she has seriously betrayed my trust and I would prefer it if I never saw her again.

I am very upset after every visit, and she was coming round loads as she had decided my baby was failing to thrive, and I was depressed. Neither are true. She forced me to go to the GP, and I collected the prescriptions for antidepressants for 3 months, without ever taking them.

I now want to be able to enjoy my baby (my last) without her constant scrutiny.

Does anyone know whether it's compulsory to have a health visitor? Would it put everyone's back up if I asked to be taken off her books? TBH I have never learned anything ffom a hv that I didn't already know, or had already found out from another source. But I recognise they are important to some people.

Tommy Mon 14-Mar-05 18:43:02

I haven't seen mine since DS2's 8m check (he's now 19m)- not for any sinister reason except that I haven't contacted her. I doubt if you can be taken off her books as all children in a GP's practice are assigned to a HV but, as long as your baby is OK now, you probably won't need to see her much anyway.

BadgerBadger Tue 15-Mar-05 02:29:43

Pollybee, AFAIK we have to have one until our children are school age and the school nurse fills the role.

Though, having said that, it should be possible to change health visitor.

If you feel she has betrayed your trust and acted unprofessionally you could consider making a formal complaint (I assume it would be to your local PCT?) as part of your request to change to another health visitor.

FairyMum Tue 15-Mar-05 07:07:10

I think you need to stand up to your HV. How can someone force you to collect anti-depressants? Didn't your GP ask you before just giving it to you?

pollybee Tue 15-Mar-05 07:46:41

Fairy - it's very complicated, but social services were involved, for the most ridiculous reason, and they were all very threatening.

See the link that somone recommended on my other post (oops accidentally did it twice)

this link

I eventually realised that I would only get rid of them all by agreeing to whatever they insisted on, however ridiculous.

hotmama Tue 15-Mar-05 08:47:45

I'm sure when I registered dd with my GP, there was a box to tick for involvement of a health visitor - therefore shouldn't it follow that this box can be 'unticked'?

Prettybird Tue 15-Mar-05 09:26:11

What did your GP say when you saw him/her. Did he/she actually talk to you before prescribing ADs - if you don't think you were actually depressed? Did the GP think the child was failing to thrive? If that was what she thought and she didn't get you to take your baby to see the GP, then she was being negligent.

You don't have to let her in to the house. Next time she visits, just say you are on your way out and you would appreciate if next time she would ring in advance (that is, if she has been "dropping by"). And then when she calls, just say you don't have any concerns at the moment and you will give her a call if you need any advice.

Maybe make an appointment with the GP just to get your baby checked - even quote the HVs comment about the baby "failing to thrive". Once your baby has been given the all clear, then you can say to the HV when she rings that you've had the baby checked, baby is fine, and you'll see her at the next check-up in the surgery. (if it's the 8 months check-up, the GP or another doctor usually does part of it - at least they did at mine).

Alternatively, as has been suggested, make a formal request to your GP to change your HV. If the GP practice only has one HV assigned, contact Communty Health and ask if you can have someone else. That way they can't accuse you of trying to avoid all HVs - it's just that one.

Hope things get better for you.

Lonelymum Tue 15-Mar-05 09:29:33

I hardly ever see my HV. Especially if this is your last child (ie not your first) I can't see any reason why you should see her, except when the child has the developmental checks. On the other hand, without suggesting your child is at risk, I suppose she was only doing what she thought was her job in looking out for your child. If you change your GP practice, you will automatically change your HV.

debs26 Tue 15-Mar-05 09:34:20

i know where you are coming from pollybee, i had a terrible hv with my 1st baby, gave me loads of rubbish advice, told me i did not have post natal depression (when i clearly did have),arranged with xp for me to see psych without consulting me (xp was a git too). i asked if i could have my medical records as i didnt trust hv or dr with them and was told no. i ended up changing gp surgery and found a lovely hv and lovely gp. might be worth considering because you are going to have to see her again at some point (jabs?) and i found that my new surgery had a very low opinion of my old surgery - i think hv and drs tend to be very similar within a surgery and have same ideas. good luck, hope you get it sorted

Carameli Tue 15-Mar-05 11:59:38

Like Tommy I have not seen my hv since the 8mnth check(dd now 17mths). But like others have said here perhaps its worth changing to another gp if its possible. Do you know any other mums who have a different gp?
But you are obviously an experienced mum so maybe you don't really need the hv much anyway. I'm a 1st time mum and my hv is lovely and has been a great source of advice, she's always been happy to listen to my silly worries, just trying to stick up for the really good hv's out there.

uwila Tue 15-Mar-05 12:37:09

CAn't you just quit contacting her, and be politely unavailable for her enquiries, etc. Sounds crazy that she could have the right to intrude where not welcome. I personally stuggle to understand the usefulness of the only health visitor I have ever met. This is probably at least in part due to being American (where we don't have helth visitors). If I have a medical concern, I want to talk to a doctor (GP, Pediatrician, etc.). So, I've really got no need for a health visitor. If she wanted to come and asses my child's development, I would probably let her in the door... if it was convenient. But, if I had to take a day off work to stay home and have her come tell me what I already know, well then I don't think I'd bend over backwards to make much time for her.

Gosh, what in the world has your health visitor done? Must go check out your other thread.

Amanda3266 Tue 15-Mar-05 12:52:06

Hi again pollybee

and anyone else who would rather not see a HV. Should mention here that I am a part time HV (Gets ready for avalanche of abuse).

You don't have to see them - you are not obliged to let them in - they are guests in your home.
Their role with children is a duel child development and surveillance one. Most GPs would not have time to see all children for developmental checks - hence we have had health visitors and I have to agree that if you can see your child is developing fine then you don't need to be taking a day off work to have what you already know confirmed. However, this is all changing and many health visitors have other roles now. For example I see two or three elderly women on my patch and sort out support services for them - mostly they are just isolated and need a friendly face once a week. I also see a Mum who has a drinking problem, again just for a chat to see how she is doing. She has lots of pressure in her life and uses alcohol to help her cope. She's not ready to give this up yet and I am just seeing her weekly while she waits for a counsellor. She feels huge guilt about the alcohol especially as she has a son. However, she is an excellent Mum and much of my time is spent reinforcing for her the fact that she is a superb Mum doing a good job in difficult circumstances. I attend a teenage mums group, a parents together group and in our area we have just set up a support group for Mums with PND. Something I wish had been there when I was suffering 2 years ago. In the neighbouring area one of the HVs now sees all the newly diagnosed people with heart attacks when they go home (she came from a coronary care background). So all change and less time for HVs to harrass parents who don't need/want them.

Pollybee - I said this on the other thread (I think) but don't see her if she's not supportive. Believe me I work with them so I know how rigid some of them can be - you can change to someone else if you feel the need to see a HV.

Mandy

uwila Tue 15-Mar-05 13:33:16

Oh Mandy, I knew you were going to show up and make me eat at least one or two of my words. There is a place for HV... I just don't have a need. I think it's a good thing that you can supprt that mom and especially the elderly.

Sorry if I was a bit harsh...

pollybee Sat 09-Apr-05 14:10:56

Just an update - took ds3 for 8 month check this week.

Declined to have him weighed because he is clearly podgy, eating well and happy. HV said over the phone that it was my choice.

Then the Dr....who performed the health checks and said he looked fine, but that he needed to have a record of ds3's measurments. When I said I didn't want him weighed (believing that was my choice) the Dr said that in 20 years he had never had a mother decline to have a baby weighed, so in his opinion, this constituted neglect and he would have no choice but to refer us to child protection social services.

Yes . really. (I have had 3 months of hell with social services because I dropped ds3 on his head while rushing out of the door, and had also dropped ds1 on his head 8 years ago. And as we all know once is an accident, twice is highly suspicious in this coutry now. Both boys fine )

So I was bullied into having the measuremnets done. (Ds3 gone up a centile line at last, but that's not the point) Was incandescant with rage.


But I am of course a abherrant mother because I insisted on b'fing when it was 'obvious' to them that my baby was starving, and one Dr in the practice decided to put failure to thrive on his record.

To Amanda, if you happen to be browsing.

I also got to see my records yesterday.
Is it really part of a health visitor's remit to put comments like "appeared well-dressed today" or "making eye contact" or "family obviously under financial strain due to husband's unemployment" or "mother insists on breastfeeding and is angry at having to give bottles" or "mother clearly struggling to cope" or "mother refused referral to Homestart" or "mother is reluctant to cooperate with social services" ?

The language seems so charged with emotion, and undoubtably affected the social worker's interpretation of my continuing 'neglect' of my child. The fact that I feed them vegetables, don't smoke, don't let them watch much Tv,happen to agree with immunisations, and have well-behaved, polite, non-obese, children is of no consequence.

whoosh as I get that off my chest

Gwenick Sat 09-Apr-05 14:20:45

aww you poor thing pollybee - that's sounds awful!!!

If it's any consolation - BOTH My children have fallen downstairs on numerous occasions (yes we do have stairgates and yes I do remember to use them LOL). But the 'worst' moment had to be when DS1 was 8 months old and screaming his lungs out. DH was holding him in one arm, and try to console with his favourite cuddly toy with the other. DS1 'launched' backwards and fell headfirst out of his arms (DH is 6ft tall.......). Took him to the dr.s the same day and she spent almost the whole 10 minute appointment questioning me as to whether my DH had ever done this before, and 'how did he get this bruise on his neck - it's not consistent with a fall'.

Well actually, as I explained to her, poor DH was so distraught by the whole thing that he GENUINELY couldn't remember the moment from him falling, to picking him up again and it was quite possible he'd tried to 'catch' him - or the bruise may even have been there longer and we'd never noticed it (DS1 didn't hold his head up at that angle often and it was pretty well 'hidden' unless you checked). She basically accused my DH of child abuse and hardly checked DS1 over!!! Still makes me livid until this day that she could have been more interested in that than the immidiate wellbeing of a child who'd fallen from a height onto his head!!!

She even had the cheek to say 'I see he's visited the Dr. quite a lot"..........well yes he had - with chest infections - nothing to do with 'injuries'!

Anyhow, that's my rant for the day over - hope you're feeling better soon.

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