I have decided to boycott our local Health Visitors … however, this may be utterly pointless as I think we are likely to slip through the net as it is. We moved into a new area and as we weren’t on the books from Joni’s birth I don’t think we’ll make it onto their radar.
I would imagine that we should be referred by the GP – however, the GP said they don’t this unless there is a problem?!
So, I called the Health Visitors in Wokingham and could not get through, I asked them to call me back as I needed some advice. A week later someone did call me back and I was shocked at their response. Like the local Family Information Service they were really unhelpful. I explained our situation, saying that I was new to the area, had a 6 month old baby and my husband was out at work for 12 hours per day and I was wondering if there were any organisations locally who could help me because my ankle is broken and I can’t even lift my baby, let alone care for her properly.
So, there were two problems with their response. Firstly, it was completely unhelpful but secondly (and more importantly) it was irresponsible. It was suggested that I hire a nanny (with all my spare cash? we are completely strapped for cash at the moment because i’m on Maternity Leave), or get myself along to the local Children’s Centre (which is a good 10 minute car ride away – at the time I couldn’t weight bear, couldn’t drive and there was no way I could have got Joni into the car). The Health Visitor also said that “it wasn’t that much of a big deal, there are some people who are disabled and they cope – you only have to cope for 6 weeks” – and that was all she had to offer.
I understand that they are short of funds and resources are more and more scarce – my job is in Children’s Centres, I understand the financial constraints of Early Years services. However, this Health Visitor knew nothing of my situation, has never met me, does not know why I have moved into this area. She doesn’t know if i’m a risk to my child. She doesn’t know if I was even coping before I broke my ankle. There was no talk of registering myself and Joni under their care for clinics and developmental checks – just a list of pointless suggestions and the end of a phone call.
I will not be taking Joni for any checks with these Health Visitors because I feel it would be a complete waste of our time. If she is ill we will go to the GP and if I want to know how much she weighs then I can do that at home. If at age 5 she has not developed as they suggest she should have done then her school will point that out.
I wait to hear from them … and I think i’ll be waiting for a long time.