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The case of the Evil Health Visitor

23 replies

Threelittleducks · 18/01/2011 19:14

Trying to make this short, so bear with me.

Ds2 is 3 months old. In that time I have had precisely 2 visits from Health visitors.

When discharged from Midwife care, was told HV would visit on Thursday. Nobody appeared. I tried to phone via the number given, no answer. Left a message on their machine with my name and number and saying that I had a week old baby and was expecting a visit, but nobody came, et, etc.
No reply over the weekend. On the Tuesday I get a phonecall from a HV for an entirely different practice to mine, apologising but saying I wasn't on their books - I had been given wrong number. They phoned other HV team and told them about me. HV team phoned and made an appointment for the Friday at 12p.m.

So on Friday at 12p.m we wait...and wait. AT 1.15p.m HV arrives, totally full of excuses on reasons for her to be late. Fair enough, I understand - other women obviously sometimes need help which cannot be scheduled for.

She is full of self-importance, and upon learning that I suffered from PND last time vows to me that she will be there for me. She makes almost grandiose proclamations about me being able to phone her at any time of day - she will make time for me and help me through PND. She notes that I'm at high risk of it re-occurring - toddler, c-section delivery etc etc. She makes promises to check on me weekly, to make phonecalls to check on me and makes an appointment with me on the day that dh was due back at work to make sure I'm coping. All of this made me feel very safe, like someone was there to support me. It felt great - especially after last time's catastrophe (whole other story).

Then she asks me how I'm feeding ds - I tell her that I'm express-ebf (various reasons) and that I'm happy with this. I did it with ds1 and it worked very well for me and I told her that although I understood her concerns I wasn't going to be hung up on it. I would try my best and move on to formula if it didn't work. Although at that moment I had a great routine going and was already stocking up the freezer. The wind turned - suddenly she was full of derision, asking me "WHY?" in patronising tones. It actually undermined my whole eebf confidence for a while. SHe even wrote in the red book - INFANT FEEDING PROBLEM in capital letters.

She then got up and left pretty much.

Fair enough. So the phone goes a week later and it's the HV assistant phoning to say that the HV is on annual leave the week of the booked appointment (2 weeks after the last one) and can she come the next week? I say yes, no problem, but begin to dread it after last time - she totally axed my confidence in Eebf and had made me feel like shit last time, so wasn't looking forward to having to defend myself again.

No need to worry though - that was the week that the snow started and nobody appeared at all. Not even a phonecall to say whether anyone was coming or not. Or to see if we were ok.

So then I look in the red book and realise ds is due his 8 week immunisations. SO I call the HV (her assistant answers). I ask to speak to HV, apparently she is too busy. I ask about the immunisations. She asks the HV and I end up having a conversation with the HV via the assistant, who has no answers. Apparently HV is clueless as to when Ds's appointment might be. It could be next week (when he is 9 weeks old) or not until 10th January (when he is nearly 12 weeks old), it all depends on whether I get an appointment through the post in time - she can't tell me if I have an appointment or not.
So now I start to get supremely angry.

So the appointment card comes on the Monday for the same day - I go to docs expecting to finally come face-to-face with HV and ask her what the hell happened to all her promised visits and checks etc etc. 9 weeks in with a history of bad PND and she hadn't even done the 6 week Edinburgh scale test with me yet, let alone asked how I was doing.
Not to mention making me feel like utter turd for eebf.

Nope - no HV, just the practice nurse. She mutters something about 'oh there's no appointment made for your 8 week screening'. I say 'what 8 week screening?' and she informs me that the HV should've made an appointment with doc to get baby screening done at 8 weeks.

Now my baby was 3 weeks prem, pretty badly jaundiced, had, on her records INFANT FEEDING PROBLEMS and she hadn't bloody seen him since 3 weeks - Angry
(Luckily he was fine, of course if any of this had been an issue then I obviously would have seen a doctor (obviously bypassing the self-righteous HV).
And she had neglected to make that appointment.
SO!! (sorry, I know it's long, but can't help it)
Week before xmas an appointment made over the phone for a HV to come see me. My mum answered the phone as she was babysitting (I was out xmas shopping). A different HV completely apologises for ds 'dropping off the radar'. My mum, bless her is pretty curt and new HV is full of apologies, makes an appointment to see me on 6th Jan. They ask over the phone if I'm still eebf (honestly, what is the big deal!?!) and my mum curtly replies that yes I am and it's working just fine thanks.

So, I wait for hv, guns ablazing, ready to go, when the sweetest lady comes in and measures and weighs ds. She does Edinburgh scale testand seems to have no idea of my prior history (despite Evilhv being only other hv in practice and having passed on my info to her. In fact she's surprised when I tell her I had pnd before) so asks loadsa questions and doesn't even blink when I say I'm eebf, just asks how I store it (interestedly), commends me for my efforts and says what a great job I'm obviously doing as ds 'was always going to be a big boy' and has definitely caught up his growth and more from being 3 weeks prem. I was proud as punch. Not a word said about her colleague, EvilHV. She makes an appointment for a month's time and leaves. Mentions his 8 week check next week (which would be when he was 12 weeks old) to see the doc. No problems.

So I take ds to see doc and !!Quelle surprise!! EvilHV is taking the appointment. Dh and I are besides ourselves, bristing with the chance to finally have a word, ask where the hell she's been, etc.
Except she gets that doc in the room as soon as. She is brimming with self-importance as there were 'triplets in the appointment before us you know!' (the triplets are brilliant, they sleep all night and she breastfeds all three, isn't that amazing, of course she needs a lot of help...oh well, see you next time, bye! Be glad you only have one! ha ha ha!!!) She also manages to nearly get the nurse to give ds his next immunisations while we are there (and we had to point out that it was too early - there should be a 4 week window.)
He had his second set on Monday. Again the appointment card landed on the mat an hour before the appointment. No joke.

Would you put in a written complaint?
I'm pissed off, as once again I've been shafted support-wise.
I have been feeling pretty down these past few days and am unable to talk to HV (which would have been handy, as I have nobody else during the day).
She has cocked up the whole relationship between us, and I feel she has done me a huge disservice. I only hope that if there are any women out there more vulnerable than me on her catchment list then she is at least giving them the support I didn't get.
She's never acknowledged how shit she has been to my face (and I'm pretty sure she knows and is waiting to fob me off with some lame excuse).

OP posts:
Threelittleducks · 18/01/2011 19:16

And if any of you read and reply I will be eternally greatful. I really feel like shit about it all. In fact, it might even be what is getting me so down!

OP posts:
warthog · 18/01/2011 19:20

you actually got a hv?? i didn't.

she sounds like a loony. but i don't see what you'll gain by persuing it further. i can really appreciate how upset you must be. honestly, try and let it go otherwise it'll colour this special time with your dc2.

can you book appts with the other sane one?

Threelittleducks · 18/01/2011 19:24

I know warthog. I'm just so fed up of being walked all over. It's like she judged and moved on.And I'd hate for anyone else to go through this. I have really REALLY needed to talk to someone these last few days and it would have made a helluva difference to just have a wee chat with a supportive person (like the HV is supposed to be, non?)

It wouldn't have been so bad if she hadn't reneged on her promise to be there for me.
It would actually have been better if she hadn't come at all!

OP posts:
gettingtogrips · 18/01/2011 19:27

Yes, I would write and complain. You seem pretty together and aware of what to expect with appointments etc. but this HV is also serving women who aren't so clued up and aware of what to look out for.

She sounds a nightmare and what a mess with all the late appointment cards.

You don't say in your post but I hope you are well, despite all this, and that you haven't been cursed with PND this time round.

SilverSky · 18/01/2011 19:28

If it makes you feel better i would.

In fact I am about to complain about mine. My boy is 11 wks and is ebf. No issues, is a great weight. HV tells me I will not be able to sustain the weight gain ebf and I'll need to use formula. I am not anti ff but why would I be even considering it when the child is doing just fine as he is.

mrsnich84 · 18/01/2011 19:29

she sounds completely incompetent - if youd been a first time mum you wouldnt have coped as well as you have! im dreading this happening to me when i have my little boy in may. I'd definately complain as shes not providing the care you and your little one deserve.

gettingtogrips · 18/01/2011 19:29

I would also recommend you make appointments with your GP, in place of the HV who has let you down.

scrappydappydoo · 18/01/2011 19:31

Well firstly it sounds like you're doing a great job and I know you're feeling down but I think it shows great confidence to challenge the hv's pov and go with instincts so you really should be proud of how you are coping.
Secondly, I would make a complaint yes - you were promised support and you were let down. Like you said there could be other vunerable women who wouldn't be as aware as you and are being let down too.
Finally, do you have nice hv name - could you request to be transferred to her 'care'? so you can avoid evilhv?

Threelittleducks · 18/01/2011 19:34

Thanks gettingtogrips. I think I've escaped the black dog this time around (fingers crossede). I was feeling very upbeat until I had to deal with it all again.

I keep thinking it hasn't bothered me, that I'm stroonger than this, but sometimes it just iterates for me and totally underlines actually, how alone I really am. And if the PND is going to come from anywhere, it's here!
There have been days where I really could have done with phoning someone for a chat - it could have turned my whole day around sometimes. Luckily this time around I've been really good at self-starting and getting past it. The black hole still seems a very very long way off thank goodness. But I'm so upset by it all really. I mean I have to see her now until my children have grown! And get advice from her (she is one of two at the practice and she is the one in charge, so everything runs through her - i.e: if i made an appointment, it's her I'd see).
We just changed docs and I don't really want to do it again, but if I make a complaint I would have to, wouldn't I?

OP posts:
curlyredhead · 18/01/2011 19:39

I would complain to the practice manager - even maybe see it not as a complaint, just write an account (maybe a bit shorter, so it gets read!) and say you want to pass on your experience as, although it hasn't actually harmed you or your son, you are concerned that there a number of problems, to do with appointments, training of HV in supporting feeding methods, over-statement of support available, lack of sharing of relevant information (your pnd status not being given to other hv).

It sounds bloody frustrating, I'm not surprised it is getting to you.

Threelittleducks · 18/01/2011 19:44

Thanks all.

Curlyredhead, that's a great idea. Obviously I shall shorten it Smile

It just seems like every time I have had a dealing with her she's cocked it up royally.
I was already sceptical, and now I am done with HCP's!
Sometimes I just feel like |I have 'MUG' written on my forehead.

Or maybe I am in my own version of The Truman Show?

OP posts:
IAmReallyFabNow · 18/01/2011 19:46

Our midwife ignored something I told her about my child and that caused a lot of problems for over a year. We made a complaint and while nothing really came of it we are sure we did the right thing.

lal123 · 18/01/2011 19:48

Just to mention that here it's not actually the HVs or practice who arrange immunisation - its all done through child health - so you were getting angry at the wrong person

Threelittleducks · 18/01/2011 19:51

Ok lal123, thanks for the info. That's actually pretty helpful so that I direct my complaint at the right folk for the right things!

OP posts:
Hk13 · 22/01/2011 00:48

How was your relationship with your MW? The only reason I ask is because I got on really well with mine and contacted her after my HV started being a bitch. Apparently her behaviour was brought up in a meeting with other HV/MW/Doctors in the area and a policy was put in place to stop this issue recurring (sorry for being vague - long story and it was along time ago) If you decide not to complain, still write a letter though so that the local authority (sorry can't remember the technical term for a collection of MW/HV! Baby brain Smile) are aware of what is going on. If they aren't aware of the problem then they can't do anything about it.

You sound like you are doing a fantastic job with your children and I hope everything goes well for you in the future x

Witchofthenorth · 23/01/2011 20:42

I would def complain or at least let your practice know what has been happening, you have the right to a decent level of care and by all accounts you have not received that. I was v lucky my hv was fantastic with all three of mine so cannot comprehend how frustrated you must be feeling but remember are a FANTASTIC mother and you are doing a wonderful job, please don't ever feel like you are alone, I am quite new to MN but I certainly get the sense you have your very own support system right here.......even if it is virtual lol keep that chin up chick and go give em he'll :)

Zipitydoda · 23/01/2011 23:06

Definitely make a complaint to your doctors surgery (senior partner/ practice manager) not to Health Visitors.

I had evilHV 6 years ago and still regret not making a formal complaint. I did complain to her manager (while in tears waiting fearfully to see evilHV) and was shuffled into a private room and told to see HVs at another clinic; "that's what the other people who have had problems with her have done."
I wish I could have spared other new mums from the trauma she inflicted on me and others (found out from mixing with other local mums that I was far from the only one).

Witchofthenorth · 24/01/2011 06:42

That was of course meant to say hell and not he'll !

walkinZombie · 24/01/2011 14:30

you should complain, theres nothing worse tha n undermining HV and specially an imcompetent one, the appointmant card an hour before the appointment is totally unacceptable

Threelittleducks · 28/01/2011 13:17

Thanks for all the support ladies (wobble) !

It's been a tough week and I've been feeling a bit lonely, but came back on here for a nosey and Withofthenorth and HK13, I have to say you made me feel great!

Thanks also to Zipitydoda. My MW was very very nice and instilled a great deal of confidence in me, which has perhaps saved me from hell this time.

I'm going to make a complaint. I feel the process of just writing it down will give me some closure :)

OP posts:
gingeroots · 28/01/2011 17:21

Oh I feel for you ,well done for keeping it together .
I would say complain - think what you want to get out of your complaint ( an apology ? ,improved systems so this doesn't happen again ? ) and structure it accordingly .
Hard to be brief with something like this ,I'd normally say go for bullet points but not sure if that would work in your case .
Good luck and keep strong .

Inertia · 03/02/2011 10:06

I would write to the practice manager and ask to be transferred to the care of the other health visitor (I was always told that we had been assigned a particular HV but we were welcome to see a different one - though that may be because one of the HVs was male, I guess that may have been an issue for some people).

Even if you don't want to actually make a formal complaint about a particular person, you could include in your letter the problems that you've raised here . The practice manager ought to be aware of, and dealing with, issues relating to their health visitor service.

1234ThumbWar · 03/02/2011 10:14

When my dc's were babies I made friends with another Mum who was a HV. I was telling her about my evilHV and my friend begged me to write a complaint, she said that this HV had a reputation, but unless people complained there was nothing that could be done.

Write a letter for yourself and for the next woman.

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