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Hand hygiene concerns one reason for baby clinic change

News | Published:

COMMUNITY drop-ins for new parents ended partly as the venues where they were held could not guarantee the best possible hand hygiene required during a pandemic.

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A spokesman for Health & Social Care said Covid-19 had brought up a lot of challenges for the team, but staff shortages was not one of them.

The spokesman highlighted the fact that some clinics may be unsafe and this, along with positive feedback received on the appointment system introduced during Covid-19, meant community drop-ins had run their course.

‘At the start of the pandemic it became clear that some of the community clinics did not have adequate hand-washing facilities to guarantee the best possible hand hygiene required,’ the spokesperson said.

‘As this pandemic is still ongoing, albeit Guernsey is Covid-19 free, we are all having to be more vigilant with regard to hygiene measures, especially hand hygiene.’

Baby clinics will continue to be held, as they were during lockdown, at Lukis House in the Grange in St Peter Port.

‘Traditional drop-in clinics are a very time efficient way of seeing a large number of babies in a short space of time,’ the spokesman continued.

‘But they afford little privacy, and the time the health visitor has to spend with service users is also very limited during a very busy clinic.

‘Individual appointments are of sufficient length to give parents and carers to discuss any issues they may have.’

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However, one group, Bailiwick Maternity Voices, that works with families in the Bailiwick to facilitate feedback to improve the services available, has said that it was not consulted.

The group, which has a Facebook page, was unhappy that a decision to end community clinics came without its members’ voices being heard.

‘We were not consulted with regards to this change. However, this I believe is because it was primarily a clinical decision based on the enhanced hygiene restrictions resulting from Covid, and verbal ad hoc feedback from a small number of service users,’ a group spokesman said.

‘We will be having a meeting with lead health visitors in the coming weeks to discuss these changes and make sure service users are at the centre of any further decisions ensuring that concerns about these changes are heard and acted upon.’

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HSC said the feedback received on the change was from parents attending the new appointment-led clinic and from the staff involved in service delivery and both saw it as an improvement.

‘Parents were very positive about the privacy and flexibility the clinics appointments gave them rather than rigid set times to attend,’ the HSC spokesman said.

‘HSC is unaware of concerns regarding the changes to the clinic arrangement or concerns over the feedback arrangements as they have been posted on a closed Facebook page.

‘Facebook comments do not always represent the views of service users.’

Deputy Victoria Oliver, who is a member of the Bailiwick Maternity Voices Facebook group, made a comment on the group’s thread for those who felt they had not been consulted to contact deputies directly to give their thoughts.

‘As a mother, it appears that many women were not consulted about this change from drop-in to appointment only and I wanted to make sure that their voices were heard too,’ she said.

‘I’ve asked if anyone wasn’t happy to email me or the deputies. It’s hard enough being a new mum and I don’t want barriers put in front of them.’

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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