12th May 2020
Dr Cheryll Adams CBE has written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson MP, to ask him to start to strengthen the health visiting profession now so that it can play its part to help all UK children to be given the opportunity to have the very best start in life. The Institute is particularly concerned by the growing rates of poverty and widening of health inequalities in the UK, both pre and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their impact on babies, all children and their parents. This has happened alongside a significant loss of health visitors and development of unwarranted variation in the service across the UK over the past five years.
In the letter to the Prime Minister, the Institute is calling for a national strategy to start to rebuild the health visiting service now, so that it will be able to respond to a range of problems that are expected to be found when families come out of lockdown. These include missed developmental delays, maternal and paternal mental illness, and growing levels of reported domestic violence. Science has shown that, if not recognised promptly, all can have a significant impact on an infant’s growth and development and their functioning in the future.
Dr Adams has offered the Institute’s recently published Vision document as a framework for new developments for health visiting alongside their expertise.