Scottish Government
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500 new health visitors

Health Secretary announces £40m over next four years.

A total of 500 new health visitor posts will be created over the next four years, Health Secretary Alex Neil has announced.

On a visit to the Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre in Edinburgh with Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell, Mr Neil said the new post s would “help fulfil the Scottish Government’s vision of making Scotland the best place to grow up”.

There will be investment in the education of health visitors and the creation of new posts over the next four years, ensuring the delivery of 500 new health visitor posts by 2017-18.

Mr Neil said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the number of staff in the NHS as a whole, delivering quality patient care for the people of Scotland through a strong investment in the NHS workforce.

“Health Visitors play a vital role in our communities, and they are at the core of delivering universal services. We want to invest in Health Visitors as the first part of the work to fulfil our vision to revolutionise children’s services and make Scotland the best place to grow up, which is why we will be delivering 500 more health visitors over the next four years.

“As front-line NHS workers, working with people to reduce health problems from an early age, these new health visitors will play a key role in the Scottish Government’s efforts to reduce health inequalities.”

Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell added:

“Health visitors who support infants and their parents and carers in the earliest years of life play a key role in delivering a universal service to children and families and the Scottish Government is committed to supporting them.

“I’m delighted that we can announce this extra investment in the workforce to build on the excellent work they are already doing and to ensure our children get the best start in life.”

Theresa Fyffe, Director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said:

“Health visitors make a critical difference to the health and wellbeing of the future lives of children and families. That’s we’ve been campaigning for the past year for the Scottish Government to invest in having the right number of fully resourced health visitors in place.

“We’re pleased the Scottish Government has been listening and yesterday’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction – we will continue to engage with the Scottish Government to make sure Scotland’s families do have ready access to and support from health visitors.”

Gavin Fergie, Professional Officer for Unite CPHVA in Scotland added:

“Unite CPHVA have been integral in the discussions leading to this announcement and support this move.

“We look forward to being part of this exciting and interesting period of time for Health Visiting and working with the Government on other areas of public health nursing development in Scotland.”

Notes To Editors


In 2014-15 the Scottish Government will invest £1.5m in changing Health Visitor education and £2m to start creating 50 new Health Visitor posts. Funding for new posts will rise to £6.8m in 2015-16, £12.8m in 2016-17 and £20m in 2017-18.

The funding will provide a range of educational support including preparation and investment in existing health visiting workforce as well as educating new health visitors.

Health visitors are qualified registered nurses or midwives with specialist qualifications in public health nursing. They support and advise families from the birth of their child until the age of five. If a family needs extra support, health visitors signpost them to appropriate agencies.

Health visitors also play a pivotal role in early intervention, promoting social inclusion, reducing health inequalities and support the ability of families to parent within local communities through the provision of universal services. Universal services include a programme of visits to families with new babies until the child goes to school.

Later this year, the Scottish Government will, with key stakeholders, bring forward plans to review the numbers of other professionals and supporting workers in the field, their practice and the systems they need to ensure they can provide the best possible service for every child.

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