Health visitors to advise parents online in groundbreaking deal

Health visitors are to offer online parenting advice to thousands of mothers after a union agreed a groundbreaking deal with the UK's largest website for parents.

The agreement between Unite/Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) and the website Netmums, which attracts over 750,000 users a month, will see a team of dedicated health visitors set up to advise parents.

The team will primarily offer advice through online chats, which can be conducted in a private one-to-one section of the website if necessary, or refer parents to a local health professional where appropriate. 

The website has received £500,000 from the Department for Children, Schools and Families funding to explore new ways of supporting parents.

Unite/CPHVA lead professional officer Cheryll Adams said: ‘This is a first for the UK, and it is great that the country's largest professional body for health visitors and community nurses is joining forces with one of the country's largest consumer champions for mums.' 

Netmums co-founder Sally Russell said the site is visited by a ‘terrifying' number of mums who are not receiving the help they need.

‘This grant recognises the power of social networking as a means of reaching out to those that need help,' she said.

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