We are excited to announce that a brand new website to support parents and carers of under fives. The website, which includes information for multiple regions across England, specifically covers the Hertfordshire area. Meaning pregnant people, parents and careers can find out where to access local support, advice and information.
Our Health Visiting teams are part of the Hertfordshire Family Centre Service. The Service brings children’s centres, health visiting and school nursing together to provide a more joined up service for children, young people and their families from pregnancy through to when a child reaches 19. There is a range of different support groups, activities and services on offer for children and their families to help them be healthy, grow and develop. Families can access available services from any Hertfordshire Family Centre, allowing them to fit sessions and services around busy family lives. For more information, visit the Family Centre Service website.
Our team of Health Visitors are registered Nurses or Midwives who have a specialised degree in Public Health and the care and development of pre-school children. We work in line with the national Healthy Child Programme, which aims to promote optimal health and wellbeing for all children. We provide an essential service to children and families and work in local communities to promote health and reduce health inequalities.
Our Health Visiting teams offer a public health service to children aged 0-5 years and their families who are registered with a GP in Hertfordshire.
We support families during pregnancy and with a new baby or a child aged under five-years-old. We help you and your family to be healthy; both emotionally and physically. Working together with you, we can provide advice, support and confidential health advice.
We work in partnership with families to design a care package that enhances you and your families’ wellbeing.
We work closely with GPs, Midwives, Children Centre’s and some Voluntary groups. We work with communities to identify any needs in your local area, which Health Visitors’ may be able to support. The service will help to signpost families to the most appropriate service for them.
Health Visiting Service information poster
If you would like to share your story, please contact the Patient Experience team on 01707 388036 or email email@example.com.
We would also love to hear about your experience on our service, please complete a survey:
Message from a mother
I am writing to send a huge thank you and my sincere compliments for the HV team in Hitchin.
I have received extra support from one of the staff, having met her prior to giving birth and then subsequently several home visits after birth to support me with breastfeeding, anxieties and my low mood as a result of this and lack of sleep.
I have also been to a number of breastfeeding drop in’s as a result of her recommendation as extra support. The team there at Oughton breast feeding drop in have been warm, welcoming and extremely encouraging. Special mention to all the Health Visitors and staff from the breast feeding network.
Thanks to the support I have received I have been able to successfully continue breastfeeding (now into the 7th week) and have managed to not only cope, but I now enjoy breastfeeding.
The support I have received has really helped with my low mood and anxiety (which I have a history of) as well as increasing my confidence in parenting. My wellbeing has been genuinely well cared for and one particular member of the team has gone above and beyond in my care, for instance calling me when she hadn’t seen me for a few weeks at the breast feeding drop in to check on my wellbeing, several visits to my house, ensuring I was well cared for whilst she was on leave.
The following account outlines a service-user’s recent experience with the health visiting team. To maintain anonymity, pseudonyms have been used.
Susie’s most recent contact with the health visiting service came following her attendance at her youngest daughter’s routine one year development check. Susie also had an older daughter who was 3 years old.
Susie reports that at that time she was experiencing difficulty coping with her eldest daughter’s challenging behaviour but had not thought to seek health visitor support or advice during this time. This, in part, Susie reports is because she did not associate the behavioural issues of a three year old as being within the remit of the health visiting service. Susie felt that health visitors dealt with babies and ‘health’ as in the ‘absence of illness’ interpretation of the word.
However, Susie reports that the health visitor at the one year development check also asked about her older daughter and, due to the health visitor’s perception and “genuine concern”, Susie began to discuss some of the issues that were of most concern to her: that of her three year old daughter’s behaviour.
Susie sums up her health visiting service experience as being a very positive one: “there are no negatives!” Susie felt that it was an important combination of having a routine contact, in an environment conducive to open discussion, and warm, empathetic and intuitive health visitor that enabled a wider but important issue to be identified and followed up. Susie points out that all of the contributory factors to her disclosing her concern about her daughter’s behaviour were fundamental to the positive outcome that followed. The contact would not have been as positive or beneficial without a health visitor who had these traits and the health visitor would not have had the contact with Susie without the routine development check as she would not have sought her help otherwise. Susie also points out that she would be unlikely to discuss these issues at a baby clinic and that the private room that the check took place in also helped her to open up.
Following the contact at the routine development check, the health visitor saw the family at home and discussed strategies to deal with the child’s challenging behaviour. Susie reports that, following discussions with the health visitor, she was then able to see where changes in both her and her husband’s approach could be changed.
“For me, it comes down to her delivery. Had she not said what she said in the way that she said it, then I would not have understood or listened.”
Susie reports that the advice and information given by the health visitor, when implemented, had a dramatic effect on her daughter’s behaviour and on the wellbeing of the family. As a result, Susie reports that she has subsequently recommended that her friends in similar situations contact their health visitor for support and advice.
When asked how Susie feels the service could be improved, she reports that health visitors need to make their services more widely known.
Here is another story from a service user.
Once registered with the health visiting service I was seen within a week. The frequency of visits have been perfect. Both health visitors were friendly and reassuring. Good non-conflicting advice, guidance and suggestions were offered, such as “maybe you could try…”. Home visits very much appreciated as logistically difficult to get out with 2 young children and they were very positive visits with lots of praise given. My health visitors were very personable and made me laugh and they have been very fond of both my children. Their communication skills were excellent, they helped me get in touch with another mother in the village with similar aged children – and we have become very good mutually supportive friends. They also suggested other agencies of support, such as Home Start.
They made me feel I was doing ok, apart from re-enforced my own instincts and judgements, I was also reassured on the right track. I felt non-judged but supported and not alone. I was empowered to make own decisions - not forced in one direction – the decisions I was making were mine. My health visitors were reliable, trustworthy friends who were popping round for a cup-of-tea. My best interests and those of my children were being considered, which made me very comfortable. I never felt like I was being a pain.
The service improved and boosted my confidence in myself as a mother. I was able to pick up the phone and ask health questions whenever I needed to, knowing I was getting good professional advice. The health visitors were very helpful, especially in the early days for coming to my house for weight checks. I have been able to take what I have wanted and needed from the health visiting service.
The health visiting service has enhanced my parenting experience and has offered valuable support. I have nothing negative or suggestions for improvements to add.