4,000 more health visitors needed

The NHS in England needs 4,000 more full-time health visitors if it is to meet the government’s goal of intensive support for the most vulnerable families, according to Unite/CPHVA.

The union was responding to the DoH’s review of health visiting published earlier this year, which said health visitors should concentrate on delivering the NSF for children and providing extra help for socially excluded families.

However, Unite/CPHVA says there are 120,000 families in England that require intensive support and an extra 4,000 health visitors would be needed to deliver this.

Cheryl Adams, Unite/CPHVA lead professional officer, said: ‘To employ 4,000 more health visitors is a drop in the ocean taken in the context of an annual NHS budget of more than £100 billion – but the results in terms of the public health of the next generation and reduced costs for secondary care services, such as mental health, could be spectacular.’

The union also called for a maximum caseload of 300 families per health visitor. The move follows research from the Family & Parenting Institute earlier this year, which showed some health visitors have caseloads of more than 1,000 children under the age of five.

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