Health visiting survey highlights concern about overstretched and overloaded staff

More than 1 in 3 health visitors worry that they are so stretched that there may be a tragedy in their area, while more than 1 in 5 health visitors are working with caseloads of over 500 children – these are the stark and disturbing findings from the Institute of Health Visiting  (iHV) 2017 annual survey of over 1400 health visitors.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director of the iHV commented:

“Health visitors are advanced specialist practitioners, previously nurses or midwives, who are very skilled at working with families to support them through stressful times...

“Without a universal preventative service many children and families in need will be missed until their problems become serious, which goes completely against the role and responsibilities of a trained health visitor and where they can have their greatest impact... 

“There is a significant research base that demonstrates the importance of investment in the early years to reduce later costs by up to eight or nine times including the cost of social care, the NHS and criminal justice services*. As a nation, we cannot afford to not invest in our children – they are our future.   There is already a large group of children and families who are affected by the recent reductions to public health budgets, and without new investment this number seems set to increase.”

Preventing accidents is a Public Health England (PHE) Best Start priority and one of the six High Impact areas for health visiting.

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Updated January 2018