The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has been formally launched to promote excellence among the profession.
The independent charity, which was launched by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter, aims to raise standards in health visiting practice by ensuring health visitors have access to the latest research and practice materials.
Backing the iHV, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “ I am delighted to welcome the new Institute of Health Visiting today. I have always strongly believed that health visitors are vital in improving the health and wellbeing of children, their families and the wider community. That's why I made a personal commitment to increase the numbers of health visitors in our country - and it's a commitment we are keeping.”
The iHV will act as a ‘centre of excellence’ for improving capacity and capability in health visiting, set professional standards for continuing professional development, build leadership in health visiting and develop new effective ways to get key public health information to families, both directly, and through the health visiting service.
The new organisation has also tasked itself with monitoring the impact of the government’s Health Visiting Implementation Plan.
Dr Cheryll Adams, iHV founding director, said: “The unique role health visitors play in society should not be undervalued. They walk through every door where there is a baby, and work with families from all backgrounds, to help children receive the best possible start in life. The iHV believes this is the right of every child, and is committed to ensuring every family receives a universally high-quality service.”
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said he “looks forward” to working closely with the iHV and urged more “sustained investment” in preventative health care to maximise the savings that could be made to the NHS.