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David Cameron plans more health visitors and a minimum number of health visits...

37 replies

Habbibu · 15/03/2008 07:09 I'm guessing he hadn't read much of MN before he came on here! Apparently he wants more visits by trained staff "who really know what they're doing". Oh, don't we all, dearie.

I know, I know, there are lots of great HVs out there - but there are lots of rubbish ones too - and he's talking about a minimum of 6hrs pw for the first two weeks. I think I'd have poked my eyes out...

OP posts:
smallwhitecat · 15/03/2008 07:16

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liath · 15/03/2008 07:23

What is needed is a subset of HV who have extra training in breast-feeding support etc. trouble is you'd need an army of them to provide enough support to all women post-natally. I paid for a post-natal doula after my second child and wished I'd had that sort of help after my first.

harpsichordcarrier · 15/03/2008 07:25

this just made me lol when I heard it on the radio!
more hv! hurray!

OhYouBadBadKitten · 15/03/2008 08:40

My health visitor was fab when dd was little, she helped me develop my confidence as a first time mum. i'd have gone round the twist without a lady like her to guide me through the first year.
At that time our largeish town (and outlying area) had 3 HV's. We have now been cut down to one.

I've been to a PCT meeting where they discussed whether it was ok to cut out one of the checks (the hearing distraction test). Since then many other checks have been cut.
Now thats ok if you are a well educated confident person without social or health issues but for many people it is the only contact they get with a health professional and I'd argue that cutting that out can be really detrimental to a childs well being.

Take for example a family that is struggling for whatever reason (drugs, abuse, poverty) just living under social services radar. From the time they leave the hospital at birth they may end up with no contact with any professionals until that child starts at nursery almost 3 years down the line. Health visitors were the very people to help bring appropriate intervention to those families.

And of course HVs dont help just young families they are also there for the elderly too.

/steps off soapbox

alardi · 15/03/2008 08:42

Better and more training for the HVs already hired would be money better spent.

pruners · 15/03/2008 08:44

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FrannyandZooey · 15/03/2008 08:45

gawd if any hv tries to come round for 6 hours a week when I have just had a baby she can fuck right off

TheBlonde · 15/03/2008 12:49

I think it would be good
Here they have cut clinics so it's much harder to see a HV if you need one

sfxmum · 15/03/2008 13:05

has he met any HV? am scared now

disclaimer - I am fairly sure there are good ones out there not sure where but surely somewhere

morningpaper · 15/03/2008 13:09

I've never had any problems seeing HVs if I wanted to

I had TWO home visits and that felt quite an infringement TBH

waffletrees · 15/03/2008 13:22

I'm sure some new mums appreciate the "advice" that HVs give. I wasn't one of them and TBH it annoyed the hell out of me organizing MY day around their visit. 6 hours - good grief!

FairyMum · 15/03/2008 13:28

Just the thought sends shivers down my spine.

crokky · 15/03/2008 13:28

"Advice" that I received from my HV included putting 2 nappies on my DS at once when he was only 2 or 3 weeks old to avoid changing his nappy too frequently. I was quite happy to change his nappy whenever it was needed and was at her attitude. HVs seem to be allowed to give any advice they see fit, they don't seem to be constrained by facts! It horrifies me that there are going to be more of them. It would be a different matter if they were only allowed to give "approved" advice, rather than the crap they make up themselves.

Reallytired · 15/03/2008 13:33

I think that re instating development reviews would help to catch problems. I am not sure that I would a health visitor 6 hours a week.

The money could be better spent in reducing waits for speech theraphy and audiology. If you have a three year old with no speech they should not have to wait 6 months for speech theraphy and audiology.

People (including adults and children) who need hearing aids or an operation to improve hearing should be treated quicker.

TotalChaos · 15/03/2008 13:35

I agree completely reallytired. I think that DC is mentioning HVs to try and appeal to all women. Whereas improving SALT and audiology access would be of importance to a more limited group of people.

Homebird8 · 15/03/2008 13:39

Don't you think that more midwives and better birth experiences might be more use for new mums?

Aitch · 15/03/2008 13:42

do you know what would be more useful and cheaper to provide? a cook and cleaner for 6 hours a week. god, that would be BLISS.

but an HV, no thanks. not that i saw one HV anyway. i saw about fifteen of them because i had the cheek to have dd just before christmas, so it was all shitey cover i got. no continuity of care, oh no, not at christmas...

waffletrees · 15/03/2008 13:58

Aitch - a cleaner and a cook for 6 hours - now that would win my vote!

weeonion · 15/03/2008 14:06

in belfast a few years ago - there was a lay health worker scheme where local women were recruited to work part time as supporters to mums. they were lionked to health centres and HVs. they had all the training and supervision needed but were more like mentors and helpers. it was a great project - the use of peer support within communities.

Monkeybird · 15/03/2008 14:11

here's a rad idea. use that cash to fund the voluntary BF orgs to pay some BFCs to be able to do more/any home visits...

dinosaurouttograss · 16/03/2008 16:10

As one of the breed I'm just so sad to read all this and feel that in many ways those of us within the profession must take responsibility for the fact that so many of you feel this way. Suddenly I feel very old and it breaks my heart to be honest, because though I've been a health visitor for 30 years, started when I was 23, have always loved the fact that I am privileged to be alongside families at the most important time in their lives and have worked so hard to make this as positive and rewarding life-experience as possible for everyone I visit, clearly it's all gone horribly wrong somewhere and we must all take the flak for that.Sadly the bad apples always get the press and those of us who feel we have tried to offer an approachable, friendly non-judgemental health visiting service sit and allow that to happen. Except not any more because there are some brilliant health visitors out there, I'm not saying I'm one of them but by crikey I've tried my best given the worst set of working circumstances in recent years. I'm constantly embarrassed at having to apologize for what I can't do, currently 3 part timers and bank staff doing the work that used to be done by a solid team of 4 f/t and 4/pt health visitors. I did my practical too, had 3 babies in 4 years, now all in their twenties, but I have taken that experience back into practice with me and have never forgotten it.If I thought a single mum on my caseload felt like this about me I'd shoot myself but first I'd hope they would feel able to tell me and actually I think they would, because I try to be friendly and transparently honest about how I work.I can only apologise that we seem to have let you all down wholesale but be assured and be confident about your skills as parents, in thirty years I have NEVER told anyone they are doing anything wrong and none of you will be either, Thank you for reading if you have got this far

pinkteddy · 16/03/2008 16:25

dinosaur - my hv was lovely and never judged me or told me I was doing anything wrong. Please don't take it personally - a talkboard like this one is bound to show more criticism of hvs than positive stories by its very nature - no one is going to post a thread saying 'my hv is lovely is yours?!' I worked in the NHS for years and mentored a hv for a while - I was shocked at how difficult the job really was - I wouldn't do it! Keep up the good work!


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Aitch · 16/03/2008 20:45

ah but tbh that's the thing, dinosaur, with the best will in the world i bet all teh HVs i came into contact with would say the same as you just did. particularly with reference to the experience you gained with your own children.

they don't say straight that you're doing it wrong, they just tell you what they did, regardless of whether it's current guidelines or not. they certainly told me that formula wouldn't do dd any harm etc and i should top-up and this wrecked my fragile hopes of bfing exclusively. i met about 15 (christmas cover) hvs and midwives, not one of them told me the same story... so by definition i had been doing it wrong time and time again, do you see?

it's a big shakeup that's needed, and the insistence on excellent and continuous training. and as i said, a cleaner and the number of the BFing experts at my local hospital would have been more use for me.

that's not to say you're not brilliant at your job, the mere fact that you've posted suggests that you are (i suspect my HVs are all watching Heartbeat and having a fag right now, not posting on MN ) but something needs to be done at a training level. more money and bigger brains and quicker responses, as usual that's what's needed.

LittleBella · 16/03/2008 20:48

Christ, cue the breastfeeding rates to plummet then

An dit's all very well, but when is he going to answer my questions?

Reallytired · 16/03/2008 22:09

There is more to health visitors than promoting breastfeeding. They look after the mother as well as the baby.

The problem is that people's expectations of health visitors are totally and utterly unreaslistic. A health visitor is expected to be

A breastfeeding expert.
A social worker
A mental health councellor
An expert in child development
An expert in toddler behaviour
To carry out development reviews
including assessing hearing. (quasi audiologist)
A dietition.
An expert on nappy rashes

I am sure that dinosaurouttograss will say there are even more jobs as well as the endless paper work.

I don't think that my health visitor was unintelligent, but she had the limitations of being a human being!

I think that David Cameron is right to increase the number of health visitors. A lot of children with "special needs" would not need additional help at school if they had had the help as pre schoolers. There a children who start school nursery with major speech problems that should have been picked up sooner.

However picking up development delays or other medical problems is pointless the the waiting lists for support services is too long.

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