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Parenting

HV - I am sooo angry

32 replies

megg · 03/02/2003 18:36

Have just had words with my HV who had the nerve to say that because we didn't agree with what she said and wouldn't take her advice it was within the realms of neglecting our ds. How dare she say that. I've had the emotional blackmail (if it were my son I would want him to get all the help he could get) but to even intimate that we are neglecting ds just beggars belief. I was shaking when I came off the phone. She actually said it twice. She said because we were refusing his 39 month check she would have to report it to her manager, explain the reasons (she wants to send ds to a speech therapist and we don't consider it necessary) and her manager could consider it to be within the realms of neglecting our child. I felt like saying perhaps she should spend some time children who are really neglected then perhaps she would know the difference. I'm quite expecting a knock on the door from social services now. Last year she upset me so much I was in tears, the year before she upset me and now this year I'm just plain angry. I'm all for her giving her opinion but to keep shoving it down our throat and then say things like that is just too much. Sorry but she made me really angry and now I'm worried that we will have social services on the doorstep.

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WideWebWitch · 03/02/2003 18:44

Who do these people think they are? If I were in your position I would write a calm, polite but firm letter to her manager saying that you thought her remarks were inappropriate, unprofessional and incorrect. I would state your reasons for not wanting the speech therapy quite clearly. I would ask that you are assigned another HV and don't have to deal with this woman again. Susanmt might have some advice, she's been through the insensitive (not right word but) hv thing. I doubt you'll have the ss at your door FWIW. I'd be angry too, good luck.

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deegward · 03/02/2003 19:11

I agree with you that the hv seems totally out of order, but can I ask, why do you not want to take your son to a speech therapist. If your son sees the speech therapist and it is not necessary surely that is better than him growing up with a problem that could be nipped in the bud. At this age, a couple of sessions can make alot of difference. Often jsut one visit is necessary.

I too would ask to change hv, and consider making a formal complaint against HER!

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Bobbins · 03/02/2003 19:22

hmm.... The Health Police strike again. They really should sort out there priorities. I remember my HV telling me off for calling my ds's bits his tinkle. Apparently I needed to give it it's correct name. Bad MUM

Can you change your HV?

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Chiccadum · 03/02/2003 20:06

U are not alone being annoyed with HV's, I do not let my dd1 and dd2 have anything to do with them. When dd1 was born she had a strawberry birth mark on her head, (which has now nearly dissappeared and is covered by her hair) and on one 2 weekly visit to have her weighed a health visitor turned round and said, what do you do about that then do you cover her head when you go out and have photos taken? My dh was livid and walked out, i dressed dd1 quietly seething, walked out and never went back, since then when hv needs to see either dd (jabs & checks) i refuse point blank to see certain HV's and have also been treatened, i stood my ground and was appointed a new one who is a trainee and she is fantastic, when she has qualified and moves away to a permanent surgery we are going to remain friends. HV's are a waste of space in my eyes and do more harm than good, they are total strangers coming into a childs territory and expecting the child to give them certain answers and do basic things, whilst the parents are told to drill into children do not speak to strangers anywhere, what are we supposed to do?

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EmmaTMG · 03/02/2003 20:27

We had a 'incident' with a new HV when DS1 was about 6 months old.
Both my children have always been just below the average line in their 'little red book' and on one occaision when DS1 was weighed his weight had dropped quite conciderable, obviously as I was a relatively new mum I was very concerned and listened to the 'lecture' she gave about what he should be eating, when and how much...I went away thinking I was doing everything wrong. Well on the way home in the car I was amazed to see that she had put our DS about 6 weeks older than he was at the time and this was why his weigh had seemingly dropped off his line. When I put his weight on the age he actually was his weight gain was consistent with his own weigh line.
DH and I were very angry and complained to out normal HV who spoke to the 'stand-in'. After that whenever I saw her she checked and checked again her figures and never once lectured me again. She left the surgery about 6-8 months later.
Luckily I've got a lovely HV now but I have to admit I take most of her advise with a pinch of salt and only listen when I think it's some good advise, but I think that rule applies to everyone who gives advise..doesn't it?!

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SofiaAmes · 04/02/2003 00:15

Megg, I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles. I too had a useless hv, full of useless advice, including insisting that I should start my exclusively breastfed ds on solids at 4 mo. even though I explained to her that the WHO recommendation was for 6 months. When I switched gp's, I got a new hv who is only marginally better than the last one. I just smile and say yes and ignore everything she says. In my experience social services doesn't have time for the real stuff, I hardly think they will be bothering you for not showing up for a 39 mo. check (didn't even know there was such a thing). And if they do, make sure you give them a piece of your mind about your hv and wasting time. But in the meantime, as the others have said, complain to your hv's manager.

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anais · 04/02/2003 00:24

Do you know you don't actually have to see a HV at all. When you register your child with your Gp you fill in a form applying for health whatsits (assessments? I can't remember what they're called - urghh, must go sleep). You don't need to put up with this. I am just horrified, my HV's have never been particularly helpful, but what this woman has said to you is inexcusable. You should be reporting her, rather than the other way round.

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ScummyMummy · 04/02/2003 00:55

How come she's still about? I haven't seen my HV for months! Thought it was something that just petered out after the first 18 months or so, I must admit. Can't you just say "yes yes" and nod sagely and then ignore her? This is always my strategy when the interfering brigade come after me and it works very well usually. Or if it's gone past that point why not switch GPs as others have suggested?

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Mines · 04/02/2003 09:11

First 18 months? Haven't seen a health visitor since DS was 4 months old. Any issues with his health dealt with by doctor since then, any issues with general child rearing dealt with by mumsnet!

Can't say I found the system particularly helpful, how would people improve it?

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karenanne · 04/02/2003 09:27

I agree Mines..i havent visited my hv since my dd was about 6 months...she wasnt disrespectful or anything like that but when i had concerns she just brushed them off and didnt give any good advice.
i admit my daughter is now nearly three and hasnt had any of her checks since then but about six months ago we changed doctors and he gave us all full medicals and i said about her checks and he said there wasnt really any need as she perfectly fine.
any concerns i have health wise i just take her to the doctors.

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slug · 04/02/2003 10:17

I haven't seen a HV since the sluglet was 10 days old. Mumsnet is a far better place for considered and reasonable advice IMHO

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breeze · 04/02/2003 10:39

Megg mate, there is nothing wrong with your sons speach, i have seen him improve a lot over the last 6 months, you need to change your surgury and get another health visitor. You are NOT neglecting your son. Don't listen to her, you clearly have history and she just enjoys winding you up. Call me if you need to chat.

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AliH · 04/02/2003 10:41

Whilst I concede that it is always easier to criticise than to praise, what a common thread here. The HV system is appalling, in my experience. Harsh? A few reasons why:

One HV failed miserably to spot PND (despite tears most weeks), no sympathy with feeding problems, no knowledge of thrush so severe it resulted in peeling skin, should I go on...

Having moved house, my new HV failed to turn up for Dds 3 year check (admitted to have forgotten!). She has not seen dd since 2 yr check. In the light of the appalling case of Victoria Climbie and other such cases, shouldn't this ring alarm bells.

Why is this system so bad?

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susanmt · 04/02/2003 11:01

I have been through the bad hv thing in several ways - one who told me dd was too big (!) to bf sucessfully! Etc .....
But the one that made me really mad enough to complain was the new one, who started distributing the CLBB to ALL new mums in the area. She was doing this with money that was supposed to be used to build a parenting library in the practice. I think you can read the whole story in the thread 'I'm not a Gina Mum but for those of you who are .....'. I put in an official complaint. I was invited to the practice to meet with one of the docs and the manager, adn the hv in question was given a written warning. She left for another post soon after, and at least I didn't have to see her again!
I would recommend the complaints route. They really do take it seriously, and the things she has been saying to you are totally indefensible. No matter what she things she has no right to be saying it in that way. You can ask to be assigned another HV, but I just keep away from them now myself - got something in about a 3 yr check for dd, but looked in her red book and she was doing everything they want months ago, so seems no oint in going - they don't hassle me now as they are afraid I'll complain again!
There is no way anyone is going to make a fuss abou tyou not going for speeech therapy! There are huge waiting lists and a national shortage! And it is up to you!
HVs seem to be a bit of a waste of space as far as I am concerned. They always seem to be giving advice where it is not needed. RRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

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cos · 04/02/2003 11:36

poor old HVs!
what a terrible thing to do to reccomend a speech therapist, perhaps she has the childs interests at heart..

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bluestar · 04/02/2003 11:49

At ds 18 month check, hv said that they don't do a 3 year check/assessment anymore unless you request a visit as parents should be able to see if their child needs additional help/support and can request it themselves before this time. Perhaps it is just in my area. On the speech therapist, my sister in law would love to be recommended to see one for her ds (5) as he has a problem with his tongue and can't say all words properly and they just say that when his adult teeth grow through, this will no longer be a problem (his dad also had the same problem, was referred and had his tongue cut for the better). My sister also saw a therapist when she was young and it helped alot. Perhaps a visit could be beneficial just to rule anything out?

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Jimjams · 04/02/2003 12:18

i'll stick up for some hv. I've had several. Some better than others. My current HV is an absolute star. She's offered support well beyond the call of duty. I suppose it's like anything they vary. You certainly don't have to see them though. My old gp liked to do the checks and he did. Why are you so anti seeing a SALT megg? You may get an assessment reasonably quickly but you certainly wouldn't get any unecessary treatment. DS1 was assessed as needing SALT 2 years ago, he's been reaasessed twice since then as still needing it. It will start this Friday, and he can't talk at all. Even then it's me who's actually doing the therapy. Your ds certainly wouldn't get lost in SALT system as there isn't one!!

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musica · 04/02/2003 12:43

I'm going to stick up for them too - I know they can be REALLY annoying, but I sometimes feel that we are all a bit smug on here - looking at other threads, there are at least two on-running that are 'Should I tell the HV about such and such a parent', but then when we are offered advice by our own HVs we reject it as being interfering.

Please don't all jump on me now! Obviously these are all very different situations, but if someone is basically well-meaning, as HVs are, then I try and respect them for it, even if I don't absolutely agree with them (and believe me I've disagreed with a few of them!).

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musica · 04/02/2003 12:43

Megg - this wasn't actually aimed at you btw - just the general gist of how I feel! Sorry you're angry with your hv.

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breeze · 04/02/2003 12:54

Do not see why she has to go and see everyone, being a friend of megg, i have heard a lot about her hv, who certainly seems to me as if she has it in for her, she put her foot down last year about something and megg went along with it only to be told ds was to young anyway, i think this is clearly a case of hv wanting to get her own back, petty i know, but this is how it seems to me, i am in regular contact with her and ds and seen a big improvement, i know i am not a hv but imo nothing is wrong with ds, and never had been.

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megg · 04/02/2003 12:55

Cos and Bluestar its not the speech therapy thing that's bothering me. Yes she has recommended it and we don't feel its necessary at this time, that should be end of story but she keeps ramming it down our throat all the time, its constant. I'm used to that it was the implication that I'm neglecting my son that I took exception to and that is why I am so angry with her.
Deegward we have been to speech therapy twice and they said they were happy for ds to progress at his own rate, I rang the speech therapist up before Christmas and she said as long as he's making sentences at this age there wasn't anything to worry about, his pronounciation will come in time. She also said there wasn't anything constructive they could do with him at this age (3.3) just emphasise the words. He can say the majority of what he mispronounces he just can't be bothered. We have told the HV that we're not closing the door on speech theraphy but are keeping the situation under review and if at any time we think he's not progressing we will go direct to the speech therapist again.

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breeze · 04/02/2003 12:56

Just for the record, i have a very good health visitor, who is more than happy to give advice when asked, as said by someone previously, some people are good at their job and some are not.

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musica · 04/02/2003 13:06

breeze and megg, like I said, I wasn't aiming that at megg - I don't know your particular situation, so can't really comment. I was just feeling generally that HVs often get bad press, which is not always deserved.

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lou33 · 04/02/2003 13:53

What about asking the salt department to provide you with a letter saying they are happy with the situation as it is? Then you can wave it under her nose when she starts again, although I would be tempted to do something else with it to her.

Agree about the variation of hv though. Had great hv's in London for the first 4 years, then had either no hv or just a voice on the phone for 6 1/2 years in Beds, but have an amazing one now in Surrey.

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clucks · 04/02/2003 14:00

The best thing my hv did for me, he rang up someone he knew at the local hospital to get DS's test results for me, as noone else would give them out over the phone and I'd have had to wait a week or so.

i don't really use hvs much, but he has been good and drops photocopied stuff off at my house if he thinks it'd help with my toddler. and he is a bloke, always a novelty.

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