Unite seeks government clarification on health visitors

Union Unite is seeking ministerial clarification on what the new children's plan means in terms of the immediate employment of health visitors.

Unite is concerned that the government strategy ‘Healthy lives, brighter future: the strategy for children and young people’s health’ is vague on the numbers needed for what is described as ‘stronger and better joined-up support during the crucial early years of life including more health visitors’.

Unite’s national officer for health Karen Reay said: ‘The strategy for children is long on aspirations and thin on detail, at a time when – according to the NHS’s own workforce statistics – according to the NHS’s own workforce statistics – a full-time health visitor post is lost every 27 hours.

‘Increased support for targeted programmes, such as Sure Start and family nurse partnerships will only address the needs of a small proportion of the population.

‘Unite has always maintained that a universal health visiting service is required for all. Parents have made it clear that they want a universal home visiting service and a relationship with their own health visitor.

‘The whole purpose of this plan will crumble if there are not enough trained and experienced health visitors implementing a universal programme of assessment and care for families and communities.’

Unite is to ask the government how many more health visitors will be recruited and with what funds.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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