Health visitors face caseloads three times limit

Health visitors are being forced to take on caseloads above the recommended level in nearly nine out of 10 PCTs in England, a report shows.

Of a total of 138 PCTs that responded to a survey by the Family and Parenting Institute, just 16 reported health visitor caseloads under 250 children, the level recommended by the union Unite/CPHVA.

The findings show huge variations in the number of health visitors per child under five years old. County Durham PCT has one health visitor per 165 children under five, but Lambeth PCT has one for every 894 children, a more than five-fold difference.

The four PCTs with the highest number of children per health visitor were all in London, the report found.

Funding for health visiting is hugely variable, the report found, with the highest spending PCT, Wirral, allocating more than £386 per child under five in 2008/9, compared with £60 per child in South West Essex teaching PCT.

The institute warned that health visitor numbers had suffered significant swings both up and down in different PCTs.

  • Read this week’s issue of Independent Nurse dated 4 May for the full version of this story.
  • Are health visitors’ caseloads too lengthy?

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