'Good neighbours' no replacement for health visitors

Health visitors should not be replaced by 'good neighbours', a survey suggests. By Jamie Stuttard.

Charity Action for Children found that 25% of adults admitted to having worried about a child they fear could be a victim of neglect. Crucially, many of those adults did not report their suspicions.

‘We fully support the importance of strong communities and good neighbours. But as the report demonstrates, they are no substitute for a health service that visits families regularly’, said Dr Cheryll Adams, lead professional officer of Unite.

Dr Adams said: ‘Having a well resourced health visiting service is important because it allows the health visitor enough time to establish a relationship with the family. This way, any deviation from the norm is picked up quickly.

‘We need to be careful that less qualified staff are not created to do a job that health visitors have the education and experience to do properly, if only their service was adequately invested in.’

Dr Adams’ comments come after it was unveiled that a full-time health visitor job is lost every 27 hours.

medical.temp@haymarket.com

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