To be surprised to have a male health visitor?

(272 Posts)
PeriodFeatures Sat 05-Oct-13 19:10:54

Just that really! I wondered what other people think?

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Oct-13 11:19:28

A lot of women who are raped can't even bring themselves to be touched by their partners and their husbands - the people they trust most in the world. If they aren't able to manage that (and understandably so) why on earth should they be expected to allow a male stranger to touch them?

As far as I'm concerned if a women does not want a man either looking at or touching her body then so be it. It isn't even an issue. And I say exactly the same if man who would rather see a male professional.

Why should our bodies be 'free for all' just because we have a medical problem that needs addressing??

SunshineMMum Mon 07-Oct-13 11:21:49

Many, women do feel uncomfortable with male midwives and I'd have shown a male health visitor the door frankly. There is no way I'd have been comfortable talking about all of the post operative issues I had had, after a car crash of a birth. And how do you know whether I have private health care or not? Either way, where ever possible I ask for a female HCP.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 07-Oct-13 11:25:01

I imagine some women might feel uncomfortable about being in their home alone with a male they don't know - in relation to having a male HV obviously.

CailinDana Mon 07-Oct-13 17:00:53

So really tired do you think it's better that a rape victim be traumatised than a hcp be told they have one less patient to see today? Do you think a decent hcp would be ok with a patient forcing themaelves through a frightening situation so as not be a "nuisance"? I don't see why it benefits anyone to insist someone is treated by a particular hcp against their will.

ReallyTired Mon 07-Oct-13 22:31:30

Posters are saying that they will not be treated by men for any medical condition. I not talking about internal examinations, but something as simple as having their ears checked or bones x-rayed in A and E. The NHS is not a bottomless pit and its not realistic to always have a woman doctor/nurse.

I feel that the notion that all men are potential rapist is ridicolous. Most rape victims do not think that for a second. I imagine that its rare to have quite that level of anxiety.

Prehaps as an aside, the majority of sexual assults are done by someone that the victim knows well. The probablity of being raped/ sexually by a work collegue or a friend is far higher than being assaulted by a total stranger or indeed a health professional.

I was the victim of a serious sexual assult at the age of nineteen and the assailent was an ex boyfriend. I am sure that the majority of rape victims do not see all men as potential rapists. Otherwise it would be impossible to go work or college or even out to the pub with friends.

CailinDana Mon 07-Oct-13 22:39:22

Who said rape victims see all men as potential rapists?

MisForMumNotMaid Mon 07-Oct-13 22:41:42

For me personally I have no issues with male healthcare practitioners within a doctors surgery or hospital.

I feel very vulnerable allowing men into my home on my own. I had limited mobility post birth so felt even more vulnerable. For me this is the instance I'd rather not have the visit than have a man I didn't know in my home, if I couldn't arrange a friend/DH to come to. Due to the nature of the job health visitors in my experience can't practically stick to a timetable to visit so its quite a big ask for a friend to sit in all day or DH to take the day off work.

I don't fear rape as such. I fear being left feeling scared in my own home. Having my home violated so that it no longer feels safe. I wouldn't presume to judge how a violent crime effects any individual.

PeriodFeatures Tue 08-Oct-13 08:47:24

I personally think that anyone has a right to request a different HP if they are not comfortable with receiving intimate care (including someone coming into their home) from that person, for whatever reason. (although discrimination is a grey area)

Whether they get it or not, that would be up for discussion.

Flame me down here but we are talking about pregnant women and women with young babies.......being petrified of all men?!! I'm sure there are very few circumstances where this would apply, but not many, surely.

It doesn't bother me at all having a male hcp.

tb Tue 08-Oct-13 10:12:20

DD is 16 tomorrow, and I had a male hv. He was rubbish, and had only taken the job to be nearer home.

He'd been a cpn before, and talked me into believing I had pnd. I didn't, my thyroid was packing up, and, had I had a different hv, might have had diagnosis/treatment sooner (and not put on 10 stone, either).

Writerwannabe83 Tue 08-Oct-13 10:14:09

Did anyone watch the Midwives programme last night which featured the male midwife?! He actually seemed really, really lovely. Apparently there are only 169 male midwives in England, that is really, low. I was surprised actually that there aren't more! One of the pregnant women had assumed he was a Doctor because he was male smile

ReallyTired Tue 08-Oct-13 10:16:10

Everyone has the right for a change of a health professional if there is a problem with personality. I imagine that there might be circumstances where a male health visitor might be a disaster for reasons that are nothing to do with gender.

Refusing health care from someone you have never met is unfair.

CailinDana Tue 08-Oct-13 10:52:44

Unfair? So people have to go through situations they find frightening/uncomfortable in order to be fair?

Writerwannabe83 Tue 08-Oct-13 10:55:34

Are you a male HCP reallytired and have you comes across an issue like this personally?

ReallyTired Tue 08-Oct-13 11:54:35

"Are you a male HCP reallytired and have you comes across an issue like this personally?"

No I am female and I used to work in a male dominated role of network managment. I know what it is like to experience unfair sex discrimination.

Where I worked there were people who only wanted one of my male collegues to fix their IT problems. They felt more comfortable with a man fixing network switches. It really hurt as I was equally as competant and qualified as the men I worked with.

I also met men who have wanted to work as nursery nurses and got turned down for job after job inspite being excellent at their job. He also experienced shit like mothers objecting to him changing their babies' nappies. Thankfully my daughter's nursery were brave enough to tell these parents to take their custom elsewhere.

There is a fine line between meeting people's wishes and tolerating unfair discrimination in either traditionally male or female jobs. There are some situations where asking for a male/ female person for a role is fair and within the law. (Ie. inimate care, internal examinations, having a female officer for helping a rape victim.) Employment law already caters for this. I doult that anyone is forced to have a male midwife in labour or for internals. However refusing a male midwife at the the gestational diabetes clinic would not be acceptable.

Where is the line between pandering to sexual discrimination and meeting people's preferences?

The line is the point where the patient feels comfortable: end of story. It is not about pandering, it is about allowing someone to carry out an often incredibly intimate examination whilst ensuring the patient is as happy as possible. It is a world away from inspecting verrucas or fixing computers.

The patient (male or female) has to consent to the examination. What they say goes. An examination where the patient has not given consent is assault. There really is no debate on this, I'm not sure why it is so difficult to understand.

It's not racism, it's not sexism; it is patient led care.

Bluegrass Tue 08-Oct-13 12:32:49

I don't think the question is quite so closed for debate as some make out. At certain points in history it would have been seen as perfectly reasonable for a patient to object to receiving care on the grounds of the caregiver's race, no one would have raised an eyebrow if they said they didn't want to be touched by them, and their preference would have been catered for regardless of the potential offence caused. Now the very idea of it is shocking and offensive and remains so no matter what arguments that patient may put forward about bad experiences or genuine fear/disgust etc.

Is it really impossible to imagine that rejecting a fully qualified caregiver on the grounds of sex alone might not eventually be treated the same way?

We are all human, albeit with some tweaks in plumbing and we are all capable of empathy and learning how the other sex works. Perhaps at some point the sex of the caregiver will genuinely be something that passes without notice, and to even think of mentioning it let alone objecting to it will be considered odd, who knows!

Grennie Tue 08-Oct-13 12:36:13

Bluegrass - If our society changes, then yes I think that is possible. But at the moment we are brought up in a society were boys and men are usually taught to see and treat girls and women in a certain way.

ReallyTired Tue 08-Oct-13 13:34:31

"The line is the point where the patient feels comfortable: end of story. It is not about pandering, it is about allowing someone to carry out an often incredibly intimate examination whilst ensuring the patient is as happy as possible. It is a world away from inspecting verrucas or fixing computers."

I think that the health visitor role is closer to inspecting verrucas than doing intimate care. Certainly there are posters on this thread who object to ALL male health professionals.

Patient led care does not mean not respecting the feelings of health professionals. It does not mean getting the patient always having their way.

"Bluegrass - If our society changes, then yes I think that is possible. But at the moment we are brought up in a society were boys and men are usually taught to see and treat girls and women in a certain way."

Sex discrimination goes both ways, I would love to see an end of jobs for the boys or jobs for the girls. If women are going to have equal opportunities in the work place then we need to give men equal opportunities.

Some issues are more important than an individual's feelings.

RoonilWazlibWuvsHermyown Tue 08-Oct-13 13:59:46

Would someone inspecting your verrucas be doing it alone in the patients home? That's where the main difference for a HV comes into play. For me personally, I have experienced sexism in my own home from a male plumber. Nothing extreme at first but when gently challenged on his comments, it ended up with him swearing at me, physically intimidating me and making me feel frightened in my own home while I was alone with my baby. I don't think a male HV is likely to do that but for my own emotional wellbeing, I do not want to be alone with a man in my home again because I find it distressing as it triggers off an anxiety response and brings back all the fear I felt. Why should I sit in fear with a male HV because of this reaction that I can't control (and therefore have no benefit from seeing the HV anyway) just to make life fair for him? Why are his needs outweighing mine?

The funny thing is, a good health visitor or doctor would consider things like rape, previous bad experiences with men etc and how they can affect your life and attitude to being with men alone and would let the request to see a woman instead roll off their backs.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 08-Oct-13 15:00:05

The funny thing is, a good health visitor or doctor would consider things like rape, previous bad experiences with men etc and how they can affect your life and attitude to being with men alone and would let the request to see a woman instead roll off their backs.

Exactly!!!

Ilovemyself Wed 09-Oct-13 06:12:44

I think most agree that for those with trigger issues it is not a problem.

It is the issue of those who have no reason other than social conditioning that needs sorting. Yes, it means making sure that women are treated equally but I think we are already further down the line than some like to make out. Still a long way to go but ere getting there.

Ilovemyself Wed 09-Oct-13 06:13:43

To be clear I meant it is not am issue for those with trigger problems to see someone of the same sex.

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