Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Mutiny at the baby clinic

I went to get Clementine weighed today at the baby clinic on Church Road. It's a fantastic place - only open once a week but the staff are lovely and reassuring. When I showed up they told me that they were sorry to say that they will be closing today - for good. Mothers in Highgate will have to travel to the far side of Crouch End or Muswell Hill.

In my election leaflet earlier this year, I pledged that, if elected, I would defend the well-used baby clinic. Even though I didn't become a councillor this time, I am going to kick up a fuss about this issue. Why? Well, as one of the fantastic staff members told me, they often pick up problems with babies very early on, and because people will be less likely to travel on two buses to go to a clinic (especially in those early days of parenthood when everything often just feels like too much), problems will go undetected and parents will go unsupported.

What is most galling is that although the clinic has been there for decades, they have given mothers - and staff, I might add - just one week's notice, probably so we don't have time to protest. This is completely against the Government's 'Our Health, Our Care, Our Say' pledge.

If we had a childrens' centre in the ward the clinic could be based there, but currently there isn't such a facility. This appears to be the thinking of Haringey Council: Highgate is a wealthy area - they can afford to send their kids to private nurseries. Well, let me tell you, not everyone around here has a grand and a half to spare a month for a nursery place! For those of us who aren't wealthy, Highgate is actually quite a difficult place to live in this respect.

Anyway, I've contacted a couple of local newspapers, I've written to all the letter pages, and we'll see whether anyone else wants to join me in a little local hellraising...

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