Friday’s Rant from the Soap Box in MY Living Room…

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Welcome to my Friday’s Rants from the Soap Box in my Living Room. A small space in the week where I can have a chunter about things that have made me twitch with annoyance or made me question if the world has gone mad or not….

So, I had to phone our local Health Visitor clinic, this week, for two reasons, one because I wanted to see if I could get some advice on the sleep plan we are trying implement for a certain little boy, and two because I needed a form signed for him, for starting school in September, and I had been told the Health Visitors were the ones to sign it.

The conversation went like this, when I got through to someone:

Me:Hi, can I speak to one of the Health Visitors please?

“What do you need to speak to them about, there is no one here this week, we are a bit short over the summer!” (this was a receptionist person)

Me:I need to speak to them about getting a form signed, for my son starting school to do with his dietary needs and also he is having some issues with sleep, and I need to pick someone’s brains.

“Oh, what’s his date of birth?  (I tell them the date, she checks the files)

Oh, I see, well he starts school in September, so he will be under the school nurse, she can sign your form” (um, I have NO idea who the school nurse is, never met her, or even spoken to her, not even sure she is often at the school, much less how to get hold of her before he starts school and needs to eat lunches)

Me: Oh, ok. Could one of the HV ring me back to chat about the sleep thing?

“Well, no one is about this week, or next, there’s an emergency health visitor, but she won’t be able to help you deal with sleep issues, she’s on call for emergencies only”

Me: Oh, OK, so basically no one can help me, then?

“No, and as he is going to school, he is pretty much out of their care” (which I know is rubbish, until he is 5, and actually the HV team can still see children even if they are at school)  Chat to the school nurse”

Me:Oh, OK, well I am not sure she is around much

“Well, maybe you just need to be tough and tell him to go to bed, and ignore him, after all he is starting school, he is a big boy now…”

Me,:yeah, thanks, that’s not very helpful. Can you tell me when the HV team are back, and I will call them back?

“Well, the first week in September we should have someone who can talk to you…”

I hung up after that…

Not sure why I bothered, but I have to wonder, if I had been desperate, and REALLY needed help, what solution she would have offered. Our system is clearly broken. Little Man has never seen a Health visitor, except when he was 10 days old and she came to the house, and she was a temporary one, who I never saw again, his developmental checks were done by a very patronising nursery nurse who knew less about breastfeeding than my 7 year old, and when I rang them, two years ago, begging for help with his sleep, prior to his ear issue being diagnosed, they were next to useless. “let him cry it out, you need to toughen up, and stop pandering to him, he will sleep eventually” and other unhelpful remarks.

Sad, really, given that I used to work for the NHS and with children, that |I am so glad I am not working in the system now, if that’s what available to parents near me.

I know there are LOTS of hard-working and wonderful Health Visitors out there, it just seems that locally to us, we have drawn the short straw. I won’t bother trying to contact them again. I do wonder what parents in real need, who aren’t coping do, if during the summer, there is no one around. Maybe our government should be spending  A LOT more money on recruiting, training and keeping Health Visitors, instead of closing children’s centres willy nilly and cutting costs all over the NHS…

That’s my rant. Anyone else had a similarly poor experience or do you have a wonderful Health Visitor?

Feel free to comment.

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