Failing Families: Health Visitor Clinic Closures

It’s been 8 years since I started NorthHantsMum in June 2011.

I’ve seen a lot of changes during that time. Unfortunately many of those changes have negatively impacted local families, especially Mums with babies and small children and families with SEN children.

Yesterday I saw that the Health Visitor clinic schedule has been changed again so that now the Drop In’s are only Monday at The Ridgeway Centre and Friday at the Discovery Centre. The others are by appointment only.

Many of the clinics that have been running for at least 8 years (I know because I used them) have now been cancelled, such as Christchurch Chineham, Overton, Hatch Warren, Whitchurch and Bramley.

I understand that we are living in times of “austerity” but why is it that families, especially Mums and young children, are targeted with any cuts first?

What you can do!!!

If, like me, you are pissed off/ fed up  (I don’t swear on NHM but I feel it’s appropriate in this instance!) with the way local families are being repeatedly let down then this is what you can do:

Specifically email ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut.

Please cc. me in any emails that you send (NorthHantsMum@gmail.com).

  1. Email the head of Southern Health: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net
  2. Email Maria Miller: maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk
  3. Email your local councillor. You can find your local councillor here by using your postcode: https://democracy.basingstoke.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

(You can copy and paste all of the emails from here: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net;  maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk; NorthHantsMum@gmail.com)

Specifically tweet ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut:

  1. Tweet the head of Southern Health: https://twitter.com/NickBroughton4
  2. Tweet Maria Miller: https://twitter.com/MariaMillerUK
  3. Tweet your local councillors

The remaining clinics also have feedback forms, so please complete these as well.

Please make sure you add comments as to why it matters to you that the clinics have been cut as the way these things work is that individual letters/emails count more than group ones.

What to write about

You could write about how disappointed you are that so many clinics have been discontinued because they were so important to you when your baby was born as they were somewhere for you to go for support.

You could write about how annoyed you are that funding cuts are impacting new Mums and thus putting them at more risk of post natal depression.

You could write about how angry you are that new Mums and future new Mums are being failed by the services that are supposed to be in place to support them.

You could also write something similar to this which I’ve been sent by another local Mum: “in recent years in our area parents have lost specialised breastfeeding support when grant funding was not extended and have had closures of Children’s Centres (11 remain out of 64 in Hampshire I think). To say that support for parents has been decimated is an understatement. I understand that money is tight but the latest blow will affect those parents who are only just coping and in turn these women and children will need to access more services via their GPs for example or as mental health referrals. I consider these additional closures will knock on to the health and well being of ordinary families and will cost the whole system more in the long run. We were promised more Health Visitors in the call for action – instead it seems we have fewer with just a skeleton service remaining. I worry for those families who in the past would have got early support from a trusted Health Visitor – who now will go under the radar. If a GP visit costs around £45, a hospital overnight stay more like £500 and a child taken in to care around £50K per annum… we can see how cutting services for families to the bare minimum will soon knock on to these other budgets. We are calling for a joined up approach to services in the county.”

You can obviously write whatever you would like but please put why it matters to you that the Health Visitor Clinics have been cut.

On Social Media you could use the hashtag #FailingFamilies.

Summary of Closures

If you have a bit more time and feel like you really want to “go to town” on how local families are being let down, then please see my summary of closures and cancellations in the past 4 years….

2015

2016

(There is now direct evidence of how children’s centres saved the NHS millions of pounds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/04/sure-start-saved-nhs-millions?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR38KyULT_ELrGweVxT_rNIHgJIK4RKL491e0MVUbcHjaVmsiC99gW3lRC8) Thank you to Danielle for sharing with me).

2017

  • 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, meaning many Mums are being forced back into working much earlier than they would want too.

2018

  • Closing of Little Play Town in Nov 2018
  • Manydown Family Fun Closed
  • Absolute Karting Basingstoke Closed
  • JJ’s (softplay) Closed
  • Beenham Wolf Sanctury Closed
  • Reduction of funding for school buses – August 2018
  • Removal of school buses for children with disabilities – August 2018
  • National Playday at Eastrop cancelled in 2018. This was a free day for children that had been running for years in Eastrop but now runs in a few of the local community centres instead. It’s not the same. At all.
  • Reduction in funding for the newborn courses at the remaining Children’s Centre, Westside – 2018
  • Cancellation of the EHCP process in Nov 2018 for SEN parents
  • Closing of ParentVoice and switching to Red Rose: https://www.hants.gov.uk/news/Nov27-SENDIASS
  • Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support in Hampshire

2019

  • Kids N Action Softplay Closed
(If there is anything that I have missed off this list, please let me know).

Impact of these changes

All of these changes are impacting many, many local families.

Even more so with the increase in housing of an extra 10,000 houses to be built in the local area by end of 2020, so more families are moving to the area but services are being reduced that don’t support existing families, let alone new families.

As I said above, I understand that we live in times of “austerity” but it’s very, very worrying and I try not to dwell too much on the impact these changes will have on my 8 year old daughter, her generation and future generations.

I try my best to be positive and upbeat on NHM but I think we need to try to do something to ensure that at least the Health Visitor clinics are better represented. Any help you can give with this will be greatly appreciated. If we ALL send the emails, the impact the NorthHantsMum Community could have would be huge!

Comments from other Mum’s

who have put it far more eloquently than I have!

Sarah: Sadly it Seems like this government would rather waste money hosting a £40million trump visit and push through brexit at any cost rather than look after it’s vulnerable citizens. After brexit more services like this will be cut as we will all be poorer – Apparently it’s “the will of the people”.

Genevieve: As well as writing letters, you may also wish to comment on Maria’s Twitter and Facebook accounts (or here https://www.facebook.com/159961377372565/posts/2184994638202552?s=532163237&sfns=mo – she’s very good at attending awards, not so good at helping people!).

Eleanor: Prevention is better than cure … health visitor clinics are so useful to local people in their own communities. Mums don’t think ‘oh I’m struggling, I know I’ll book a health visitor clinic’ they just keep struggling, until something breaks or nothing happens but just struggle.
I’m so sad to see the Bramley clinic cancelled. The stay and play sessions were so valuable to me. Sadly the funding is ridiculously short I presume. I’ll defiantly be emailing as you suggested. Taking away support for parents is only ever going to cause problems for parents and children in the future. Even if it’s the subtle kind of problems that don’t translate into hospital admissions etc.

Elisa: The unfortunate truth is that they are down on 5 full time health visitors for Southern Health. The reason they are not able to recruit is that most of their time is spent dealing with safe guarding issues. The role of the health visitor has sadly changed and nobody wants to do the type of work they are doing now. Add to this, the fact that the remaining staff are over worked and stressed, it’s not an environment anyone else wants to join.
So as desperately sad as it is about the decreasing availability of them, writing to anyone will sadly make no difference. The jobs are available but sadly nobody wants them ☹️.

Emma: When I had my first I could walk around to chiltern school and see a HV every other Tuesday. He was regularly weighed and as a first time mum I could ask all my questions. Fast forward 4 years and I had a prem baby. Zero support. I was told I’d have more contact because he was premature- I didn’t. When I went for weigh ins the HV’s didn’t all understand how to record his weight!! You have to plot it twice for actual and corrected. The library was the easiest one to get to but queues were horrendous and then you felt rushed because you could feel the strain. Needless to say I stopped going. It was too much effort with two children and with my baby being so little. I can’t believe they’ve reduced this even further. If I was a first time mum now I’d be very worried.

Wendy: Emma, such similar story, my first was weighed once a fortnight at first, then once a month in the Popley 5 drop in that was walking distance for all of Popley, Oakridge and South View. Then they moved it to Popley Fields for my second, no longer walking distance, not at a time that was convenient for nursery/school run. He got weighed about 4 times. He had eczema and allergies but going to the drop in meant missing out on other things or struggling with the car park, so we didn’t bother. Parking charges, town being busy, all things that would have put me off going to the library. I can only imagine what it’s like for those using public transport.

Angela: It’s thoroughly saddening to see such valuable support (emotional to individuals and economic to the wider public health system) being stripped away. I hope people remember this feeling of hopelessness during the next general election and vote for a party that is going to help the public. (I’m really sorry to make this political, but in the words of a great 90s rock band “everything’s political”. We have the power to choose a government that won’t strip the first line of support from us.)

Charlotte: It’s so sad. I used to work on a HV team and the work they do really cannot be underestimated. Yes, you can still see a HV without a clinic but as mentioned above, the clinic is such a convenient and quick way to see them, without having to book an appointment. Some parents don’t have to confidence to book an appointment, or they aren’t sure if they are wasting someone’s time (they never are wasting anyone’s time). I think the cutting down of these clinics alongside the closure of the children’s centres we really come back to bite the Government in a few years when there are increased social issues and late diagnosis of problems that could have been resolved with early intervention 😢.

Mary: To be a HV, you have to be a qualified nurse. They can’t find nurses because they cut the support for people to train. Lots of nurses stop nursing because its not compatible with being a parent unless you are lucky enough to work in a day service. Nurses, however, aren’t paid enough so free childcare is vital to contribute towards the cos. It’s more problematic that childcare support doesn’t start until age 3 so working parents have to struggle through age 1 and 2 first – or not work and then have to pay to reregister or train for their jobs. It’s all connected.

Nicole: I got my almost 3 month old weighed yesterday at Discovery Centre and I was shocked at how much it had changed since I took my first there in 2016. There was a queue out of the door to get in, and then you now weigh your baby and record it in your red book yourself. I didn’t need any support from the HV on this visit, but I’m not a healthcare professional and it would have been nice to just have them oversee it and my baby’s progress. To be honest I won’t be attending again. I feel sorry for the HVs because they look so stretched when you see them trying to get around the room, but most of them were extremely friendly and pleasant, and even found me a seat to feed the baby before I left.

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New Group Starting in June: Baby and Me, Westside Community Centre

Sessions will involve light sensory based activities using music and movement to help you get to know your new baby. Through informal social activities you will have the opportunity to understand your baby’s development and world around them.

Sessions focus on emotional and physical health,
practical support and improving attachment.

This course is perfect for any new parents who want to
improve their confidence and increase their social network.

Any donations towards the cost of this course would be welcomed.

**Please note all sessions need to be attended. **

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Guest Post: Jiggy Wrigglers – Basingstoke, Fleet, Hook and surrounding areas

My name is Kelly and I run Jiggy Wrigglers in Basingstoke, Fleet, Hook and surround areas.  I first started this business as I wanted something that I could flexibility run around my twins and also I wanted to enjoy my job.  I certainly do both every day!

Jiggy Wrigglers is a musical movement and sensory class that uses unique songs to entertain your children along side props, bubbles, parachutes, puppets and more!  The classes are either Jiggy Mixed (5 months to 5 year olds), Jiggy Tots (0-2 years old) or Jiggy Babies (0-12 months old).  We are also proud to be the leaders of intergenerational sessions through our Jiggy Vintage sessions (sessions run in care homes) which we started at the beginning of last year and have had overwhelming feedback on how it has positively impacted care home residents life’s and the little ones that come who don’t have grandparents of their own.

You may not have realised the benefits when you come to our sessions as you are having so much fun but these include:
– Physical fitness for both you and your little one(s)
– encourages creativity
– promotes team work (parachute games)
– may help encourage better naps/sleeping
– fostering friendships
– helps with social skills amongst peers
– helps parents get out of the house and socialise
– aids creativity
– promotes patience
– helps children learn how to share (although we have props for everyone!)
– helps with language development as the children sing along to songs

We welcome all at our classes and have always charged per family, not per child, so why not give us a try? Our sessions start from £4 per family and they are PAYG so you don’t have to worry about your child being unwell and losing your termly payment.

Although we have a different playlist each week, I also include monthly themed session at no extra charge.

Most of our class locations either have a play area, are in a country park or have a playground near by so you can make a morning of activities.

Our current timetable of classes is below:

Tuesdays:

Hook Home and Garden Centre
10.20am – Jiggy Mixed
11.00am – Jiggy Babies

Wednesdays

Wellington Country Park (currently twice a month but will soon be moving to weekly)

10.00am – Jiggy Mixed
10.50am – Jiggy Babies

Mothercare, Hatch Warren (once a month)
10.30am – Jiggy Tots

Thursdays

We are soon to have weekly central Basingstoke location so please keep your keep an eye on our Facebook page and website!

Fridays

Fleet (once a month)
9.45am – Jiggy Mixed
11.00am – Jiggy Babies

Beech Tree Care Home (once a month)
10.00am – Jiggy Mixed

We also cater for parties and nursery session so please do get in touch if you would like to discuss our packages.

www.jiggywrigglers.com

kelly@jiggywrigglers.com

www.facebook.com/jiggybasingstoke

www.facebook.com/jwfleetbasingstoke

www.instagram.com/jiggywrigglersbasingstokefleet

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Baby Sleep the Night

Having trouble getting your baby / toddler to sleep? Let me help you as I have been there too.

I am currently working towards finalising my certification and am offering a 2 week package which usually would cost £250 for £50 in exchange for an honest review of my service and a testimonial if you’re happy with the results at the end of our time together.

It is worth mentioning that I do not use the ‘ cry it out ‘ method, which many frazzled parents may possibly have tried and found not successful in the past. I use a very gentle approach taught to me by one of the leading baby sleep consultants in the UK which allows you to be there every step of the way to help provide comfort to your little one whilst they learn this new and important skill. I am incredibly passionate about sleep having suffered sleep deprivation with my own children and I know that healthy sleep habits mean healthy happy children.

If you know of anyone who this may help, please pass on my details or share to your entire address book!

www.babysleepthenight.com

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New information evening for Mums making a choice for birth after Caesarean

A new information evening for mums making a choice for birth after Caesarean will be on the second Wednesday of every month at 18.30hrs at alternating maternity sites.

It continues on Wednesday 12th of June at Basingstoke in the Blue room, downstairs in the Sherbourne building.

The purpose is to give consistent advice regarding the options for women having had a caesarean and help them to achieve the birth they would like , either and elective repeat Cs or a VBAC.

For more details, please contact me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com and I will put you in touch with the relevant Consultant Midwife.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

NHM Readers Recommend: Toddler and Baby Groups in Romsey

An NHM Reader recently contacted me asking if the NHM Community might be able to help: “I live in Romsey and I’m feeling a bit isolated. There are very few toddler and baby groups. Given your role, I wondered whether you have any connections in that area?” 

Thank you for all of your replies, listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Toddler and Baby Groups in Romsey

Rebecca said “There’s a lovely coffee shop in Romsey called asante…They don’t do toddler groups but may stop you feeling isolated.”

Luan said “What about contacting RCS as they run all sorts of things. Not sure if groups based any more but worth a try”

Jennifer said “I’d suggest: signing up to Southampton NCT Facebook group and Southampton baby and toddler forum. Loads of great suggestions all over the area. Breastfeeders should get to bosom pals- Thursday morning meets in a room upstairs in the Baptist church and is a friendly place for a chat. The library does a couple of activities I think (and is generally a warm and comfortable place to be). I think I heard murmurs of an abbotswood based buggyfit class….Also thinking: I think there’s still a play cafe at the academy studios and I saw another one is opening up on the base point estate near the luzborough pub.”

Claire said “Toddler Sense runs in Romsey on a Monday”

Claudia said “Trina runs Jolly Babies & Music with Mummy classes in Romsey.”

Leah said “There’s frankies fun factory there – like Playdays but bigger!”

Rachel said “The abbey has a toddler group which was always nice. Lovely toddler group in Awbridge village called the ark. The library does some singing/story stuff for little ones which was really good.”

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

 

New Class!! – Baby Mindful

Baby Mindful classes are an amazing opportunity for parent and baby to connect and spend time getting to know each other in a calm supportive environment. It’s so easy to be caught in a whirlwind of being busy, and Baby Mindful is an opportunity to leave the to-do list and worries behind, and focus on your baby, and also your needs too – Time to just “be” rather than “do”.

You will also learn tools to help you manage the emotional rollercoaster of parenthood (and indeed life!), that will remain valuable throughout your journey as a parent – the ability to respond rather than react to situations, and be the calm your baby seeks.The classes follow a different theme each week and offer a range of activities to support the natural development of your baby, using activities that will gently stimulate and calm them and support their cognitive, communicative, social, emotional and physical development.

Each class has seven sections with different activities in each – Move, Play, Stretch, Feel, Breathe, Believe and Relax – with benefits for both your baby and you.

Classes are for 0-6 month babies at 10am, and also more action based classes for 6-12 month babies at 11:15am.

Overton Community Centre, Overton, RG25 3HB
https://www.facebook.com/babymindfulwithlaura/

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LinguaTastic Languages for Babies and Toddlers

I was absolutely gutted that I didn’t find out about the Baby and Toddler Linguatastic classes until it was too late for Miss NHM.

However, we enrolled her in German with Linguatastic when she started in YR and she thoroughly enjoyed it (Linguatastic do language classes for all ages).

Unfortunately because of her health issues, her energy levels couldn’t cope with it at the time but I still rate the LinguaTastic classes highly!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

FREE baby massage taster session – Friday 3rd May

FREE baby massage taster session on Friday 3rd May near Odiham.  Places are limited to help promote a relaxed atmosphere for baby and parent.

Baby Massage strokes and relaxation techniques will be taught to help with bonding, attachment and communication between baby and parent.

Baby Massage can help relieve the symptoms of colic, promote sleep and increase relaxation.

The one hour session will include all that is needed for the massage as well as refreshments.

There will also be the opportunity to complete the next 4 sessions of the baby massage course at a discounted rate of £40.

I am a qualified midwife and health visitor and have seen the benefits that baby massage can have on parent and baby.

Please message to book a space 07585 005143. I look forward to meeting you and your baby. Jane

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter, Facebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!