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Bright future for health visiting

  • Last modified date:
    26 April 2011
picture of young mums and children

Families and health visitors have helped design the new health visiting service.

The NHS has taken the first steps towards providing a stronger, more comprehensive health visiting service for children and families, with the launch of 20 sites that will lead the way in delivering the new service model for health visiting.

Families who live in one of the 20 ‘early implementer site’ areas can expect the new service to be up and running by April 2012, with the rest of the country following by 2015. And there is more good news: the Government recently announced that an extra 4,200 health visitors will be recruited by 2015, and SHAs have been quick to take action. 

The number of training places available is likely to double this year, with up to 1,200 positions being made available from September. SHAs are also running schemes to help former health visitors return to the profession, so their skills and experiences can benefit families and children quickly.

It is vital that the service gives those people interested in working with families in the community the opportunity to apply. Interested applicants can find out more about health visiting and the training opportunities available on the NHS Careers website.

It is an exciting time to be involved in health visiting, but it is communities and families who are at the heart of all this activity. The new service has been designed by families and current health visitors, and offers four levels of help and support, from a universal service for every family, through to specific help for those who need it.

The four levels are:

  • Your community: working with local people to develop services and make sure families know what is available.
  • Universal: making sure every family receives the healthy child programme, including baby/child checks and immunisations, and providing health and parenting advice when needed.
  • Universal Plus: providing a rapid response and a range of services for families who have a problem, for example post natal depression or a child who does not sleep.
  • Universal Partnership Plus: working alongside others such as Sure Start centres to tackle problems and supporting families to give children the best start in life.

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