By working in partnership with other services, health visitors help parents prepare for birth, improving the chances of a positive start for their baby. They promote the health and well-being of children and families by working with parents to assess the need for care, providing routine child development checks, taking responsibility for child protection issues, and developing appropriate support programmes where needed.
The health visiting service
The Department of Health published the Health visitor implementation plan 2011-15 A call to action in February 2011 which sets out the full range of services that families will be able to expect from health visitors and their teams. It aimed to create a bigger, rejuvenated workforce with an extra 4,200 health visitors by 2015 and an improvement in the quality of the health visiting service for children and families with more targeted and tailored support for those who need it.
The rejuvenated service will:
- develop, support and promote the services set up by families and communities themselves as part of the ‘Your Community’ service
- deliver the Healthy Child Programme ensuring all children get the essential immunisations, health and development checks as part of the ‘Universal Services’
- ensure a rapid response with expert help for problems like postnatal depression or a sleepless baby as part of the ‘Universal Plus’ Service and
- provide ongoing support as part of a range of local services working together with disadvantaged families, to deal with more complex issues over a period of time - under the ‘Universal Partnership Plus’ service.
49 early implementer sites were selected to lead the way in delivering the new health visiting service.
Following changes to the NHS architecture in April 2013, in June of the same year, The Department of Health published The National Health Visitor Plan: progress to date and implementation 2013. It describes progress to date, and sets out plans for the final phases of the plan, and beyond. It also explains who the new organisations responsible for delivery of the health visitor plan are, and how they will work with the service to achieve it.
Health visiting web pages
Read a summary of information with relevant links about the Government's commitment to grow the health visiting workforce.
We have developed a recruitment toolkit to help you consider how to attract the best health visitors to work in your area.
Our briefing Health visitor employment: from training to practice recommends a model you can use to encourage your health visiting students to stay on with your service post qualification. Further advice on retaining your health visiting workforce can be found in this dedicated section of our website.
Visit our NHS pension and flexible retirement options pages, to find out about offers for staff considering retirement to help you continue to provide a full and effective service.
Our return to practice web page provides information from two pilot sites who have worked with their universities to provide courses for people returning to the career, with a positive impact on their trajectories.
We will keep you up to date via our latest news page, which contains the latest information, and links to further reading relevant to the health visiting workforce. Find out how you can play an active role in our health visiting network, which has been established for you to share and learn from each others' issues and solutions by visiting our share and learn web page.
Get in touch
If you have any suggestions or comments about our health visiting web pages, or would like to tell us about the work you are involved with, or to join our share and learn network, please email firstname.lastname@example.org