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Views sought on health visitor plan

Health visitors in England are being asked to have their say on the future of the profession.

The Unite/Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association claims a government review of services will affect hundreds of thousands of families.

It has now organised a series of roadshows across England so members can give their views on the Department of Health blueprint entitled Facing the Future.

The union claims NHS statistics show a health visitor is lost every day, and 40% of training places will be axed in England this year.

Unite/CPHVA professional officer Dave Munday said: "This is a great opportunity for health visitors and community nursery nurses to influence our response to the review and demonstrate the vital role they play in such areas as parenting, child development and postnatal depression.

"Health visitors can play an important part in promoting the health of hundreds of thousands of families in the years to come - but only if there are a sufficient number of trained health visitors, with the resources to match.

"Our message to government is 'give us the tools, and we will deliver'."

The roadshows will be held in Rochester on 20 August, and will then take place in London, Norwich, Manchester, Esher, Carlisle, Plymouth, Bristol, Hampshire, Leicester, Birmingham, and South Yorkshire.

The responses from healthcare professionals will then be presented to the government in the autumn.


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"Health Visitors are the key to grassroots health promotion with individual or families or groups. We are unique in that we can deliver care in any setting and work with the community, which we know and understand. Having 'inside' knowledge of a community influences our public health role, which allows us to respond effectively and sensitively to that community. Health Visiting is very difficult to measure due to the longevity of some of the work, which poses a problem in the current business approach to counting and quantifying care. Health Visitors are experienced and highly qualified community practitioners whose work is often 'unseen' yet we are doing one of the core vital roles that a PCTs need to positively influence health" - Stephanie Hodgson, Health Visitor, Central Lancashire PCT