Public health minister, Anne Milton, has launched a government strategy to 'rejuvenate' the healthcare workforce.
Ms Milton unveiled details of the Health Visitors Implementation Plan, which explains how the government will achieve its target of expanding the health visitor workforce by 4,200 over the next four years.
The paper promises to allay the concerns of some health workers who feel undervalued by introducing an improved career structure, and reinforcing links between Sure Start children's centres and health visitors.
The government has also revealed that an extra 6,000 nurses or midwives need to be recruited to offset the number who are expected to retire in the next few years.
Ms Milton said: 'Health visitors play such an important role - they give families that vital extra bit of support they need in their children's early years. We need more of them so they can reclaim their role in the heart of our communities and at the centre of family life.
'As well as new recruits, we also want to encourage those who have left the profession to return. And we will offer existing health visitors the chance to refresh and develop their skills - helping to improve career opportunities and retention.
"Now is an exciting time to join what promises to be a rewarding, dynamic and essential service.'