Best Start Health Visitors
What is a Health Visitor?
We work with parents and children from mid-pregnancy until your child attends school. We are all Nurses or Midwives who have also completed additional training in public health, which includes child development, breast feeding and nutrition, and child and family health.
We work in teams with Community Development Advisors and also work closely with a number of other services. These services include GP surgeries, Midwives, Paediatricians, Children Centre’s, Early Help teams and other Croydon Best Start services. We can often signpost you to the most appropriate organisation or professional in order to help give your child the “best start” in life.
We know that what happens during pregnancy and in the first years of a child’s life has a big impact on their future development and opportunities later in life. Being a parent can bring mixed happiness and worry all at the same time and without help, small problems may become bigger problems. Therefore we work closely with Best Start colleagues to ensure that you get help early enough, if that is what you want and need.
Families whose first language is not English can be visited or seen in clinic with an interpreter alongside the Health Visitor to ensure your family’s health needs are addressed. The Health Visiting team can arrange this for you, please see contact details listed below.
Croydon Best Start
Best Start provides integrated health and council led services to support families from pregnancy until their child starts school at age 5.
Please visit the following website for further information on Best Start services available: www.croydon.gov.uk/beststart
What will my Health Visitor do?
You will be allocated a Health Visitor either during your pregnancy or after your baby is born.
28 - 36 weeks pregnancy contact
Your Health Visitor may see you before your baby is born between 28-36 weeks of pregnancy.
During this visit your health visitor will talk to you about:
- How your pregnancy has been going
- What support you have to help you with your baby
- How you would like to feed your baby
- If you have any concerns about becoming a parent.
- What to expect after your baby is born
New Birth Visit (when your baby is around 10 – 14 days old)
You will then be seen at home when your baby is between 10-14 days old for the new birth visit.
This is roughly when your Midwife will hand over care of you and your baby to your Health Visitor.
At this visit your Health Visitor will:
- Chat to you about how the birth of your baby went
- Ask how you are feeling emotionally
- Check if you have any concerns about your health or your partners health
- Tell you about the immunisations your baby needs
You will receive your baby’s child health record (red book) from the midwife or at this visit. This is your book that you keep on behalf of your child and your Health Visitor will show you how to use it as a record of how your child is growing. It also contains information about immunisations and a guide to key developmental milestones.
You will also be given information about your nearest Best Start Children Centre, Child Health Clinics and other best start services you may find useful where you could meet other parents and join in with activities.
Postnatal Contact (when your baby is 6 - 8 weeks old)
This contact is important for assessing your baby’s growth and wellbeing and to see how you are feeling. This is a good time to talk about the following:
- A discussion about how your baby is feeding
- Baby’s sleep
- Baby’s crying and any other worries you may have
- You will also be reminded about other services that provide help and support
- Your emotional health
Developmental Review (when your baby is 9 - 12 months)
During this contact a member of the health visiting team will talk to you about how your baby is growing and developing. You will be contacted soon before your baby reaches 9 months and invited to make an appointment for a developmental review. You will also be sent something called an Ages and Stages questionnaire (ASQ) to help you record all your child’s achievements.
You will get advice about the following:
- Child’s diet
- Dental health
- Safety issues
- Future developmental stages
Although the next scheduled visit is not until your child is 2 to 2½ years old, you can always contact your health visitor, if there are any questions or concerns about your child’s development.
Developmental Review (when your child is 2 – 2 ½ years old)
A member of the health visiting team will review with you your child’s health and developmental progress including the following:
- Physical development for example: ability to walk, run and clamber over obstacles
- Talking and communicating to adults and other children and discuss your child’s hearing and vision
- Toilet training
- Options for childcare and early year’s education
If your child attends a nursery, child minder or other early years setting then the Early Years Progress Check will completed by staff at these settings.
The information from this check will be shared with the HV team and the HV team will share the information from the developmental review with the early year’s settings.
We also provide ongoing support in partnership with other professionals and services for families dealing with more complex issues such as:
- Domestic violence
- Substance misuse
- Mental health issues
To find out more about the Best Start Health Visiting Service, please download Health Visitor Leaflet.
Best Start Health Visiting Bases
Your local Health Visiting team can be contacted Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm, excluding Bank Holidays.
The Health Visiting teams run child health clinics at a variety of venues where you can bring your baby or child to be weighed, discuss feeding and introducing solids, talk about development or any other health issues you would like to discuss. To see where these take place please refer to our Child Health Clinics schedule
You can contact your local Health Visiting team. Further details and opening times are here:
Find your local Health Visiting team here
Thornton Heath Health Centre
61A Gillett Road,
Tel: Duty Health Visitor 020 8714 2700
Woodside Health Centre
3 Enmore Road
Tel: Duty Health Visitor 020 8274 6900
135 Shirley Road,
Tel: Duty Health Visitor 020 8714 2800
Purley War Memorial Hospital
856 Brighton Road,
Surrey CR8 2YL
Tel: Duty Health Visitor 020 8401 3000 extension 2374
Tel: Duty Health Visitor 020 8714 2950
Lennard Road Health Centre
12-18 Lennard Road,
Tel: Duty Health Visitor 020 8274 6300
Broad Green Health Centre
1-13 Lodge Road,
Tel: Duty Health Visitor 020 8274 6880
The Integrated review for 2 year olds
The Integrated Review is the sharing of information between you, your health visitor or community child development advisor and your child’s early years setting. This sharing of information is an opportunity to look at your child’s progress and strengths and also discuss what is needed to support your child’s health, wellbeing, learning and behaviour.
For further information you can view the Best Start two year integrated review leaflet [pdf] 698KB
Perinatal Mental Health
Having a baby is one of the biggest, life-changing experiences you will ever have.
While this is often a happy and exciting time for you and your family, sometimes for many different reasons, pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby is not as easy and perhaps not as you had hoped or planned.
Visit the Emotional Wellbeing section here to see what support is available during and after pregnancy.
Download a copy of the Perinatal Mental Health Leaflet which contains lots of useful information and advice with links to national organisations who will be able to help and support you.
Community Breastfeeding Support
We support the right of all parents to make informed choices about how to feed your baby and we will support you in your decision. Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby, there are important benefits which breastfeeding provides for both you and your baby and we therefore encourage you to breastfeed.
Visit the Breastfeeding Support section to find out about breastfeeding cafes and the support available.
From October 2018 you can text your NHS Health Visiting Service on 07520 615205
The Croydon Best Start Health Visiting service is introducing a new confidential texting service for parents and carers, giving advice and support with children’s physical and emotional health.
This is an easy way for parents and carers with children aged 0-4 to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues such as sleep, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, immunisations, emotional health, arrange an appointment or find out how to access other local services.
In other areas of the country parents and carers have reported that they like using the service because it is:
- Less embarrassing
- Quick and easy
Texts will be responded to by the Croydon Health Visiting team within one working day. The service will be available from Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, excluding bank holidays. During out–of–hours, anyone who texts the service will receive an automated message with advice on where to get help if their question is urgent.
The Croydon Health Services School Nursing service is also introducing this service.
Messages are charged at your usual rates and for further information you can view the ChatHealth Health Visiting Poster.pdf [pdf] 403KB