Suffolk Health and Children’s Centres changes (COVID-19)

Latest changes made to health visiting and children's centres, home visiting and Child Health Clinics due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: 16th September 2020 (reviewed daily)

The health and safety of our families and staff is our top priority and as the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across the UK.  Please see below the key changes we have made to the way that we are delivering services.

Health Business Centre (HBC)

  • We may have difficulty responding to your phone calls in a timely way but if you leave us a message, we will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • The HBC is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. You can contact them on 03456 078866 or at childrenshealth@suffolk.gov.uk

Health visiting and children’s centres

  • All health and children's centre groups are suspended.
  • Antenatal Contact – all pregnant women will receive a letter about our offer and contact details. For those of you requiring additional support a Health Visitor will contact you.
  • New Birth Visits  - you will be contacted by the service to make arrangements for this contact. This may be at home, in the clinic or by video call.
  • 6 week checks - you will  be contacted by the service to make arrangements for this contact. This may be at home, in the clinic or by video call.
  • 12 month / 2 Year assessment  - you will  be contacted by the service to make arrangements for this contact. This may be at home, in the clinic or by video call.
  • Transfer In - if you have recently moved into Suffolk you will  be contacted by the service to make arrangements for this contact.
  • When required, health visitors will participate in Case Conferences via Skype and will share safeguarding reports with families over the phone rather than shared face to face.
  • If you need additional support you can phone the HBC on 0345 6078866

Home visiting 

When a home visit is required, the Health Visitor will knock on your door and will keep their distance and not enter your home until they are happy that your household are all symptom free.  They will use personal protective equipment (PPE) during the visit.  This is important to keep you and our staff safe.

If you or your family have either a new cough or a fever the Health Visitor may need to postpone the visit.  

Child Health Clinics

  • Child Health Clinics have moved to appointment only.
  • You will be offered an appointment only if there is a need to see you child.
  • Please ring the HBC on 03456 078866 to make an appointment.  Please select the option to speak to a clinician for clinic bookings, as it is necessary to assess whether there is a clinical need for your child to be seen.
  • On arrival for your appointment please phone the Health Visitor and they will come and let you in. They will show you in and ask you to stand in a specific place so that they can keep 2 meters away from you and your baby. This is to protect both you and our staff.
  • If the Health Visitor needs to come close to you or your baby, they will wear personal protective equipment (PPE). This is important to keep you and our staff safe.
  • Check where clinics are being held and are open on the school closures website (children's centre list).
  • All adults will be asked to wear a face covering. If on arrival they do not have one, we will supply them

While this is a difficult decision, it is the right thing to do to ensure we are minimising the risk to our families, our staff and our communities.

Please continue to access our Health Visiting webpage for information, advice and guidance.

For Coronavirus information please visit NHS.UK.

Parent Tips

Visit The Institute of Health Visiting to find guides for parents during COVID-19

These include 

  • Wheeze and Breathing difficulties
  • Fever/High temperature
  • Rashes: when should you worry
  • Diarrhoea and Vomiting (D&V)
  • Head injury
  • Coping with a crying baby during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Supporting breastfeeding during the COVID-19
  • Routine screening review at 6-8 weeks during COVID-19
  • Childhood immunisations 1: An introduction to childhood immunisations
  • Childhood immunisations 2: Frequently Asked Questions

Safer Sleep

Visit the Lullaby Trust for information on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and advice on caring for your baby during COVID-19. These include:

  • Sleep position
  • Room sharing
  • Co Sleeping
  • Room temperature
  • Smoking
  • Mattresses and bedding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Dummies
  • Swaddling and slings
  • Baby summer safety
  • A clear cot
  • Premature babies
  • Vaccination and SIDS
  • e-cigarettes
  • Twins
  • Car seats and SIDS

When a child is ill

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.

Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured. Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done.

Here is some Advice for Parents when your child is ill

Illness in Newborn Babies

After babies are born they have to breathe, suck, feed, wee, poo and stay warm.

The leaflets below to tell you how to keep your baby safe and healthy.  Do not delay seeking help if you have any concerns.

Coronavirus Parent information for newborn babies

Illness in newborn babies

Learn how to spot the signs of a heart defect in your newborn baby

If you are breastfeeding while infected

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. The current evidence is that children with coronavirus (COVID-19) get much less severe symptoms than adults. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact; however, this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone.

If you or a family member are feeding with formula or expressed milk, you should sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share bottles or a breast pump with someone else.

You can find more information on the UNICEF website.

Coping with crying during COVID - 19 Pandemic

It is hard at the best of times coping with a crying baby. However, it is much more difficult when you are confined to the house and separated from your usual activities and support from family and friends. With this in mind, the Institute of Health Visiting have put together a few facts on infant crying which we hope you find helpful – and, most importantly, some tips on how to get through this time and feel more in control and safe.

Coping with a crying baby during COVID-19 Pandemic

Face Coverings

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.

Read the latest Government Guidelines on staying safe outside your home.

How to test your child for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK

PPE

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and is a new word in everyday language now.  You can visit our dedicated page to watch a short video showing people wearing PPE, which you can use use with your child/children to talk about PPE and who you may see wearing it.

Healthy Start Vouchers

With Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins.

Since 6 April, you no longer need a health professional to sign your Healthy Start application form.  This means you can leave Part B blank. Don’t forget that you or the applicant still needs to sign the application in Part A, Section 7

For more information and how to apply visit the Healthy Start website.

Dental Health 

How to access dental health services during lock down

Dental health during lock down

Supporting children's oral health

Changes to registering a birth

Birth registrations have been resumed as from the 1st June.

Whilst you are waiting for a birth registration appointment, you can still make a claim for child benefit or universal credit without registering the birth. Visit gov.uk/child-benefit or gov.uk/universal-credit for more details.

Other useful sites

Institute of Health Visiting - Parenting through Coronavirus 

Public Health England - Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young peoples mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak

World Health Organisation (WHO) Guide to Parenting in the time of COVID-19