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Institute of Health Visiting transitions to new leadership

22nd September 2020

Outgoing CEO says: “Government must invest in rebuilding health visiting profession.”

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is preparing to welcome a new Executive Director. Eight years after launching the charity and academic body, iHV’s current Executive Director, Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, will step back in January 2021.

Stepping into her role is the Institute’s current Director of Policy and Quality, Alison Morton, who will become Acting Executive Director until the post is advertised during 2021. Dr Adams will remain with the iHV working part time, taking the title of Founding Director. Until the end of March 2021, Dr Adams will support Ms Morton’s transition into the role, and will continue to support the Institute with project work thereafter.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, outgoing Executive Director of iHV

In stepping back, Dr Adams had a strong message about her ongoing hopes for the profession, saying:

“My outstanding hope is that the government will take urgent action to rebuild this amazing profession in England. There are 30% less health visitors working in England today than there were five years ago, unlike in the rest of the UK where the profession is being strengthened. New investment is desperately needed to reverse this.”

She added:

“Health visitors work quietly and professionally with families to provide a safety net for all babies and pre-school children. They turn children’s lives around, providing them with brighter futures and, in so doing, help to reduce the impact of health inequalities for all of us.”

The iHV was launched in 2012 to strengthen the services which health visitors provide to parents, and for supporting health visitors in their challenging role on the frontline of preventative healthcare.

Over the last eight years, the Institute has enjoyed many successes, including developing a portfolio of highly-respected award-winning training programmes, regular conferences, and many new products and publications supporting the profession and practice development. Particular strengths have been its work programmes around perinatal and infant mental health, language development and nutrition. The iHV’s reach is now both UK-wide and global and it has a wide range of effective partnerships with others in the sector. Entirely self-funded since day one, the Institute has become a respected and valued voice nationally for health visiting, as well as for babies and young families.

Dr Adams, who founded the Institute, was awarded a CBE in 2016 for her services to health visiting. In announcing the iHV’s upcoming leadership change, she said:

“It is important to know when to step back and this is the time. I have spent 10 years setting up, launching and running the Institute and I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved so far. My team is strong and successful, and the Institute has become the go-to academic body for health visiting. I have total faith that the Institute has a bright future.”

Pamela Goldberg OBE, Chair of Trustees at the iHV, said of the organisation’s new Acting Executive Director:

“I have complete confidence in Alison to take the Institute into its next phase of development and, with Cheryll, look forward to supporting her transition into this new role. “

Dr Adams added:

“In the time she has been with us, Alison has more than proved her commitment and passion to the health visiting profession – an essential trait for the organisation’s next leader. Alison has real vision, talent and energy and I will enjoy watching that being translated into action.”

Alison Morton, Acting Executive Director, iHV

In conclusion, Dr Adams said:

“The Institute is now a well-established entity with a strong vision at its core. This has only been strengthened by the impacts of COVID-19, which has required us to adopt new ways of working in order to continue our activities and serve the profession and families during this challenging period.

“The impact of COVID-19 on young families has been immense. It has also shone a light on just how essential the health visiting service is – now more than ever! The government cannot afford to ignore this any longer. There is too much at stake. It is time to act and to invest in rebuilding this vital profession once more.”

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