Unite campaigns for health visiting recognised in law

A campaign has been launched to redefine legally the health visitor profession by union Unite/CPHVA.

The union wants health visiting ‘returned to statute' or recognised in law as it was up to 2001.

Unite argues that without this legal protection less qualified staff can take on health visiting duties and because of this lack of regulation the public is less protected.

Unite/CPHVA says this has made it easier for PCTs to cut back on health visitors and employ less qualified staff. It cites evidence from the NHS Information Centre of a 13.5% drop in health visitors in England in the last four years.

Obi Amadi, Unite's lead professional officer, said: ‘You could have the bizarre situation of a TV presenter with no nursing qualifications giving advice on bringing up babies and describing herself as a health visitor and that is currently legally acceptable. However, she could not describe herself as a nurse as that is legally defined.'

Unite will be lobbying government following schools secretary Ed Balls' promise at last year's Unite conference to look at the issue.

You can support Unite's campaign statement here.

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