Health visitors diverted to deal with swine flu pandemic

Health visitors could be diverted from their usual work to operate antiviral collection points in the swine flu pandemic, according to GP's sister magazine Children and Young People Now.

Health visitors, highlighted by Lord Laming as key in spotting signs of child abuse, are being trained to assist the response to the pandemic threat.

Contingency plans to cope with the swine flu pandemic look set to compromise safeguarding measures aimed at protecting vulnerable children.

The NHS is ditching the requirement for some volunteers to have a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check in a move designed to compensate for an expected surge in staff absences.

Ade Adigun-Harris, the NHS implementation lead for human resources, said contingency plans have been made to enable the NHS to cope with the crisis.

These include relaxing CRB check requirements if a relatively recent check on the volunteer has taken place for another organisation.

Another contingency measure involves health visitors being trained to carry out general duties in response to the pandemic threat. The training will mean health visitors can be diverted from their usual day-to-day work.

* Are health visitors comfortable with undertaking this new work?



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