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iHV welcomes today’s “No one wants to see my baby” report

9th November 2021

iHV welcomes today’s “No one wants to see my baby” report published by First 1001 Day member organisations Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and the Parent-Infant Foundation about the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on babies and their families.

report cover

This new report raises concerns that parents are still struggling to access essential services to help them through pregnancy and beyond, with problems including accessing face-to-face medical care, reduced access to health visitors and a lack of accessible community parent and baby groups.

The report has been published ahead of a backbench business debate on the start for life, which will take place this afternoon (watch here on Parliament TV). The report is a follow up from last year’s Babies in Lockdown report, and is based on in-depth follow-up studies with 11 families, a review of the literature and a survey of volunteers and professionals who work with families around the UK.

Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV, commented:

“As the world seems in a hurry to move on from the pandemic, we welcome this appropriately titled report, ‘No one wants to see my baby’, which presents the ongoing struggles faced by so many families this winter – this is far from over. Services intended to support families have not recovered from the pandemic, let alone had the opportunity to build back better.

“This report highlights how the Government’s ‘baby blind-spot’, in their pandemic response and COVID-19 recovery, has left many without the support they need. There is work to be done to prevent long-term harms. It is not too late, but the authors warn that failure to take this seriously will leave ‘permanent scars on the provision of support for babies and young children’ unless addressed.”

The report found that:

  • Many parents in the sample reported that young children seem to be adapting well.
  • Families are still feeling the benefits of time together.
  • The pandemic is still affecting parents’ mental health.
  • Families are not able to access all the support they need from health visiting services and GPs.
  • Digital support has an important role to play but there are limitations of online and phone-based service delivery.

The report’s call to action

This research shows that, although many of the pandemic restrictions have been lifted, COVID-19 and the measures introduced to control it are still having an impact on babies, their families and the services that support them. The report recommends action and investment for families across the UK to ensure that babies, families and the services that work with them can recover from the pandemic.

The report makes three calls on the UK Government:

  • The UK Government must support local authorities to invest in and rebuild health visiting services.
  • Babies and the services that support them must be included in COVID-19 recovery policy and investment at a national and local level. This must include investment in community and voluntary sector support.
  • An evidence-based approach must be taken to ensure the appropriate use of remote service delivery, and investment in relational, face-to-face support where this is needed.