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Nearly 4,000 new health visitors, official data reveals

There were 12,077 full time health visitors in March 2015, which is 3,985 more than in May 2010. 

The number of health visitors had been in decline in 2010, and in many areas, there were not enough to offer all families the support they needed said. Therefore,The Health Visitor Information Plan, released in 2011, called for an increase of health visitors by 2015.

Government then pledged an extra 4,200 health visitors by 2015, a target they nearly hit so far, in order to create high quality, well-resourced health visiting services, working in partnership with GPs, maternity and other health services, Children's Centres and other early years services.

Dame Sarah Cowley, emeritus professor, King's College London, and trustee of the Institute of Health Visiting, said: “The government missed their target of 4,200 health visitors, but only just - still an increase of 49.2% overall. It is a great achievement, but disappointing that the big cities - London (especially), Birmingham, Manchester are where there are still big gaps.”  

In London there was only a 37% increase in health visitors, although they needed 50%.  Some parts of south England also needed more than the 63% that they got.

Now, the Institute of Health Visiting said the challenge is to retain those new staff and train nearly 7,000 students in order to fill the remaining posts needed.