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‘Home-Hospitalling’ on the rise as parents lose faith in State Health System

parents understand, they really doToby Woodburn looks like any other 8 year old. He plays the same games, he watches the same television programmes and he talks cheerfully about the different stickers in his football sticker album. But unlike other boys of his age, he doesn’t go to the GP if he’s feeling unwell – Toby’s parents have opted for home hospitalling.

His father, Nigel, a research biologist, explains, ‘We first noticed Toby was of above average health almost as soon as he was born. There was no jaundice, no rashes, and his weight and length were at the upper end of the graph for his age. But instead of celebrating and nurturing this exceptional health, the health visitors spent less and less time with him.’

When Nigel and his wife, Sandra took Toby in for his MMR jabs, they asked their GP if there was a fast-track programme of advanced immunisations for health-gifted children like Toby. To their disappointment, the answer was no. ‘He pretty much told us that the policy of the health service, as it stood, was to prioritise children of below-average health. We were shocked that the system is basically set up to churn out children of ‘acceptable’ health levels, because somehow that’s more ‘effective’. He treated us as if we were wasting his time! There’s literally no provision to push the healthy kids.’

Toby remained in the state health system until he was 7, but their experiences at the local Accident & Emergency when Toby broke his arm at school convinced them that they had to do something. ‘The doctors were saying that the cast had to be on for 8 weeks, but we know that Toby can heal faster than other kids. Holding him back like that will just make him disruptive.’ With his wife, Sandra, Nigel searched the internet to see if other parents with children of outstanding health had had similar experienced.

‘We were amazed,’ recalled Sandra. ‘There were so many stories out there similar to ours – parents with children in the upper percentiles of health who found that the local health authority was happy to ignore their special needs.

‘That was when we began to think seriously about home-hospitalling’

Sandra gave up her job as a primary school teacher and with Nigel they converted the spare bedroom of their Teddington home into a clinic for Toby, where they’ve had a go at treating him for tonsillitis, ‘mysterious leg-ache’ and a nasty cut on the head that should really have had 12 stitches.

‘We may not be doctors in the strictest sense of training and qualification, but we are his parents and we know what’s best for our son.’

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Posted: Jun 14th, 2010 by Golgo13

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