Department of Health and Social Care
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Twenty centres to put health visitors at the heart of the community

Twenty centres to put health visitors at the heart of the community

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 30 March 2011

Twenty health visiting sites across the country have been selected to lead the way in fast tracking the delivery of the Government’s vision to improve the health and well being of children, families and communities, Public Health Minister Anne Milton announced today.

Speaking at a launch event, the Minister also announced the start of a national recruitment drive to increase the numbers of health visitors - attracting more people to train to join the profession, as well as encouraging former health visitors back into practice.

The initiatives are part of the Government’s commitment to increase the health visitor workforce by 4,200 by 2015 and are backed by education institutions, NHS Careers and Strategic Health Authorities who will be on hand to advise and support on local opportunities. Boosting the numbers of health visitors is key to delivering the Government’s new vision for the profession and the service on offer for families and communities.

The twenty ‘Early Implementer Sites’ will showcase the new service model for health visiting, which has been developed with the profession, and was recently set out in the Government’s Health Visitor Implementation Plan ’A Call to Action’. Health visiting teams in these areas will work with other local health and children’s services, as well as with families themselves, so that by April 2012 they can provide this dynamic new service in ways and at times and places that suit their local community.

The twenty teams selected are already delivering parts of the new service and will be supported to quickly progress to the full family offer, as well as helping other areas develop their service by sharing learning and best practice.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“We are determined to give parents the support they need to give their children the best start in life. Health visitors are trusted by parents and have the training and experience to provide a helping hand when families need it most.

“That is why we are committed to building a universal health visiting service with an extra 4,200 health visitors. So I'd like to encourage nurses to come forward to train as health visitors and any former health visitors to consider coming back to the profession."

At the launch event today at the Department of Health, Anne Milton and the Chief Nursing Officer Dame Christine Beasley, met with some of the practitioners and leaders from the twenty sites, as well as with professional bodies.

Anne Milton said:

“It is essential for families that we have the numbers of health visitors we need. By recruiting more and developing the profession they will be able to deliver sound preventative health care based on the evidence about the importance of the early years of life.

“The twenty sites announced today will be at the forefront of implementing our vision for health visiting services. As well as ensuring all families get the service they should, they will also focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged families. Health visitors will be supported to use their skills to work with local communities to develop services. This will put health visiting at the heart of achieving better health outcomes in our communities.”

Chief Nursing Officer Dame Christine Beasley said:

”The Early Implementer health visiting sites will help showcase some of the best practice in the country. With our support they will be able to build on this success and share expertise but also provide inspiration across the whole profession.

“It is an exciting time to join the health visiting service. Our new vision and our commitment to expand the workforce promises to ensure this is a rewarding, dynamic and vital service.

“As well as attracting new recruits, we also want to encourage those who have left the profession to return. And we will offer existing health visitors the chance to refresh and develop their skills - helping to improve career opportunities and retention.”

Notes to Editors

1. The Twenty Early Implementer Health Visiting sites comprise two from each Strategic Health Authority: Early Implementer HV sites by SHA 1. East Midlands SHAA. NHS Northamptonshire Provider ServicesB. Derbyshire Community Health Services2. East of England SHAA. NHS Norfolk B. NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney3. London SHAA. City and Hackney – Homerton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Inner North East London cluster B. Haringey and Islington – Whittington Hospital NHS TrustNorth Central London cluster 4. North East SHAA. County Durham and Darlington PCT clusterB. South of Tyne and Wear PCT cluster 5. North West SHAA. Blackpool Health Visiting ServicesB. Wirral Health Visiting Services 6. South Central SHAA. NHS Buckinghamshire B. NHS Solent 7. South East Coast SHAA. NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald and NHS Hastings & Rother PCT B. Medway Community Healthcare8. South West SHAA. Banes PCTB. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Community Health Services Trust9. West Midlands SHAA. NHS Stoke on TrentB. NHS Warwickshire Community Health10. Yorkshire and Humber SHAA. NHS LeedsB. NHS Doncaster 2. The purpose of the Early Implementer Sites will be to lead the way in: realising the Government’s ambition to improve local child and family services through increasing the number of health visitors resulting in, better health outcomes for children and families;higher job satisfaction, for health visitors and their teams;stronger local partnerships across health and early years services;mobilising and supporting health visitors and their teams to develop and deliver the new service model and family offer;demonstrating how local commissioners and their providers can implement the service model and family offer - ensuring that increased capacity delivers a transformed service;strengthening the Healthy Child Programme by drawing on learning from the Family Nurse Partnership Programme and other evidence based methods and programmes;sharing learning from the development process and demonstrating early success. By April 2012 these sites will offer families a four tier model comprising Community, Universal, Universal plus and Universal Partnership Plus - as detailed in ‘A Call to Action’. Each Strategic Health Authority has identified two sites in their region that are close to providing this new service and can act as Early Implementers. 3. The key elements of the new service to be in place by next year are: Community – the needs of local communities are understood and a directory of services to meet those needs is in place or being progressed. Health visitors in the local area are supported in community development work and have undertaken (or will soon) the new ‘building community capacity’ training module.Universal – all elements of the Healthy Child Programme are being delivered. Contacts with families are increased, especially for first time parents, and there is good coverage of the two - two and half year review.Universal plus – evidence based care packages offered to families are clearly defined. Providers ensure that continuing professional development plans clearly show that health visitors can access any specialist training required.Universal partnership plus – as a minimum there is a named health visitor on the management board of the local Sure Start Children’s Centre and there are services/drop-in sessions provided by health visitors through the centre.Safeguarding children - there are effective partnership arrangements in place. 4. Return to practice training scheme The return to practice scheme will run across the country, with education and training places being made available in each region. Two Strategic Health Authorities are already running return to practice pilots, and these have helped us learn about the training needs of ex-health visitors, as well as providing other Authorities with evidence of the best way to structure courses around the needs of the students. The results from the pilots have been promising – in London alone, 47 ex health visitors are due to return to the profession this year.


Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221

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