Lukewarm union response to Conservative health visitor pledge

The Conservative Party has pledged to increase health visitor numbers by more than a third, but the move brought a lukewarm response from union leaders.

David Cameron
David Cameron

David Cameron told the party's spring conference in Gateshead that increasing health visitor numbers was at the heart of his plans for a more ‘family-friendly' Britain.

‘A Conservative government will provide a universal health visiting service to all parents. We're going to radically increase the number of health visitors so that every family can count on the proper support they need,' Mr Cameron said. 

The move is part of a package to deliver six hours' home support to all mothers in the first week after their child is born. They would then receive a visit every two weeks in the first six months, monthly visits in the next six months and two visits a year until their child reached the age of five.

But Unite head of health Kevin Coyne said: ‘The government has already said that it wants to see more health visitors and community nurses employed.'

Despite this, figures published last week showed the number of health visitors dropped to the lowest level in a decade in 2007. There are now 11,569 health visitors, 841 fewer than in 1997.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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