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Reverse the health visitor cuts!

This petition had 307 supporters


By signing this petition you are helping to raise concerns about the harsh cuts we are seeing in the Burntwood health visitor service.

Councilor Atkins OBE I would urge you to consider the long term implications of these cuts. 

Along with the loss of sexual health clinics in Burntwood and Lichfield we have lost services that provide two crucial services.

My name is Rachael and I volunteer for pandas which is a charity that supports families experiencing pre or postnatal depression. I have volunteered for pandas for 3 years and I currently run a peer support group in Burntwood.
It is a well attended group with a waiting list and our main aim is to connect new mothers with other mothers in the Burntwood area who are also suffering with depression and anxiety.
I belive we provide a crucial service within the community; preventing isolation and hopelessness.
It is vital that new moms feel supported and valued within their community, because feeling supported and knowing you are not alone can really improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Depression and anxiety can have long term implications for mothers and their children in later life.
Mothers who are unfortunate enough to suffer with this illness will most likely keep it to themselves, hiding away behind closed doors. Some mothers may even experience intrusive thoughts and consider self harming.
Suicidal thoughts are not uncommon and are very disturbing.
If left undiagnosed it can lead to relationship breakdowns, bonding issues and long term mental health problems.
It can also lead to anxiety and mental health problems in children, who would then need to access public services in later life.
Health visitors are the first point of call for a mother with postnatal depression.
Health visitors pick up on this illness before a mother even recognises it herself.
Here is a statement from one of the mothers we have been fortunate to support:

" my HV visited me weekly for the first few months as she was concerned about PND. But i kept saying i was ok. Finally, when my baby was 6 months i went to the docs and was put on meds and felt the "rush of love" that should have happend at the start as i pushed her in a trolly around aldi. I told my HV and she held back her tears. But i saw them. I knew she ACTUALLY cared. And i was grateful"    

This lady's HV was persistent. She recognised the signs and symptoms and trusted her gut instinct, I am happy to say that with help from the doctors, health visitors and peer support this lady is well on her way to recovery.

Here are some of the other concerns that have also been raised:

" my HV was fantastic!  And so full of information and ideas to help. I just hope shes got another job in a similar field. Otherwise what a waste of knowledge!"

" I think that is a real shame the post natal groups run by the health visitors have stopped. I found them invaluable when I had my children. when you have a baby you find out who your real friends are and sometimes you lose friendships until your little one starts school and you meet parents on the school  run. Two of my best friends are Mums I met at postnatal group. Also the content of the postnatal group sessions was useful, especially as a first time Mum when we talked about weaning, childhood illnesses, fire safety, the library, etc...."

"Got me thinking about everything my health visitor did for me! She encouraged me to speak to my boss which enabled me to go part time and signposted me to Pandas, I don't know where I would be now without that support. She was amazing but has now left due to the cuts and is employed in a different role-such a waste!"

" If I have any questions now who can I ask? For example I used to be able to call on my health visitor for questions about nappy rash, feeding problems and small things like that. "

"I think this is going to put pressure on doctors, in the past I've been able to go to a health visitor for advice but now I have no choice but to go to see a gp"

The relationship that health visitors have with moms is priceless!

Health visitors play a key role in connecting families with each others within the community, also sign posting to other services such as Pandas, Barnodos and social services.

Health visitors can answer those many questions that so many new mothers have; reducing the amount of health visitors will undoubtedly put pressure on the gp services which are already stretched.

I find it alarming that HVs will no longer be providing postnatal groups for topics such as fire safety and childhood illnesses, surely this leaves young children and our communities vulnerable?

I am already hearing about long queues at the baby clinics and moms feeling forgotten, how long before moms feel cut off from there own community?

Our Health visitors quite often went above and beyond their call of duty!
How many moms have they helped? How many relationships did they save?
How many new babies lives now have a brighter outlook because the health visitor encouraged the mother to seek professional help?

How many suicides did they prevent? 

I fear that Burntwood is heading for a higher rate of teenage pregnancies due to the loss of our sexual health services. As you know young girls now have to travel to Tamworth or Cannock for help and support.

What happens if they have no means of getting there? Some girls/ Ladies need to use these services quickly and discretely, this is no longer the case when you have a half an hour drive or a 45 minute bus ride.

Our Health visitors would have played a crucial part in the health and wellbeing of these young mothers and their babies.

Burntwood residents need our Health visitors! 

Yours sincerely

Rachael Woods

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