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Friday 21st October 2016

Variations in health visitor access

1st May 2009

Campaigners have highlighted wide variations in access to health visitors in England.


The Family and Parenting Institute (FPI) has pointed to a clear "north-south divide" in the access English children and parents have to health visitors.

County Durham Primary Care Trust's ratio of one health visitor for every 165 children is the best in the country, followed by Darlington and Bournemouth, compared to one for every 800 children in some London PCT areas.

The findings follow Lord Laming’s inquiries into the Victoria Climbie and Baby P cases, which have already recommended the number of health visitors needs to be increased.

The FPI, which has been campaigning for more health visitors since 2007, wants to see: a universal health visitor service with an intensive service for parents who will benefit most; a preventative health visitor service to help support the most vulnerable families; and better training and career structures for health visitors.

The FPI chief executive Mary MacLeod said: "The value of health visitors is unquestionable. Parents tell us they are a lifeline.

"Health visitors respond to parents' worries and concerns, and their unique relationship and position of visiting families in their home means that they can detect problems that parents may not talk about."

She said the postcode lottery was unacceptable.

The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) which represents health visitors, recommends each should have a case load of no more than 250 children.

The Department of Health said it was aware of the need to encourage greater investment in health visitors.


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