In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, health visitors are now known as public health nurses. They are part of the Healthy Together public health programme for children and young people aged 0-19 and their families.
Will I meet my public health nurse before the birth?
Your midwife will get in touch with your public health nursing team and let them know you’re expecting a baby. A public health nurse (health visitor) will then arrange to come and see you at home at some point between 28 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. You may want your partner to be there for the meeting too, and you can both talk to your public health nurse (health visitor) about how you’re feeling about your imminent arrival, and what you’ve done to prepare for your new baby.
Public health nurses work with staff at children’s centres and with midwives to run ‘Bumps to Babies’ groups. At these groups, you’ll learn about becoming a parent, find out what to expect during the labour and birth, and receive advice about feeding and baby care. Parents who are expecting usually attend these weekly sessions for around four weeks, and each session lasts a couple of hours.
What support will I receive after my baby is born?
The next time you’ll see your public health nurse (health visitor) will be when your baby is between 10 and 14 days old, when you’ll receive a home visit. You’ll be able to talk about your birth experience and discuss how you’re coping now your baby is home. The public health nurse (health visitor) will also examine your new baby and update the Red Book (your baby’s personal child health record) which your midwife will give you. The Red Book is full of useful information for you to keep, as well as somewhere for health professionals to record their notes when they see your baby.
Between six and eight weeks after the birth, you’ll need to make an appointment for you and your baby to see your GP, just to check you’re both doing well. You’ll also see your public health nurse around this time too, either in clinic or at home. They’ll talk to you about your baby’s development and review how you feel feeding is going. They’ll also offer advice about immunisations and discuss with you how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally.
When your baby’s three or four months old, you’ll be offered another appointment with your public health nurse (health visitor) to check your baby’s developing well and feeding nicely. Often this session takes place with other parents as part of a group at a clinic, so it’s a great opportunity to meet other parents with babies the same age.
You’ll then be offered an appointment when your baby is between 10-12 months, again in a local clinic. The public health nurse (health visitor) will look at your baby’s development and talk through any issues or concerns you may have.
The next developmental check happens at some point between two years three months and two years six months, and will be carried out by a member of the Healthy Together team.
Your Healthy Together team also offer local advice clinics, which your public health nurse will tell you about.
What if I need more help?
If you and your public health nurse (health visitor) feel that you need more support, you can talk about this together, either at one of the set appointments or by giving them a call. Even if you just need to discuss a concern or worry you have, they’re at the end of the phone so don’t be afraid to give them a call. Parenting doesn’t always go exactly to plan, and they will be happy to help. You’ll find their number at the front of the Red Book.
If you move house and register with a new GP, he/she will advise your Healthy Together team. If you’re not sure of the name of your public health nurse, you can ring 0300 3000 007 between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.30am – 4.30pm Friday. Outside these times, you can leave a message on the out-of-hours answerphone, and the team will call you back.
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called ChatHealth. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm., excluding bank holidays. All texts will be answered within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.
This is not an emergency service, should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.
- Leicester City: text 07520 615381
- Leicestershire and Rutland: text 07520 615382