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#TurnOffTheTaps campaign to Invest in Health Visiting

22nd September 2021

Today, as announced by Sally Hogg during her presentation at the iHV Evidence-based Practice Conference 2021 (#iHVEBP2021), iHV together with the First 1001 Days Movement is launching our #TurnOffTheTaps campaign calling for investment in Health Visiting services.

#TurnOffTheTaps campaign

The focus of Government policy and spending is too often on dealing with a backlog of unmet needs, rather than reducing this need through improving the health, happiness and resilience of our citizens. We are investing billions in overstretched health and social care services, which are flooded with growing needs. It’s time for a different approach. It’s time to turn off the taps. It’s time to invest in health promotion and prevention in the earliest years of life.

The Chancellor has said that the Spending Review, announced this autumn will ensure “strong and innovative public services” and level up across the UK to “increase and spread opportunity.”

Investing in services that give children the best start in life reduces demands on GPs, hospitals and social care. It means children start school ready to learn and to achieve, so our schools can be more effective. Investing at the start of life gives our children the best chance of being safe, happy and healthy throughout their lifetime and into old age.

Science shows us that action in early life can prevent problems that can be costly to individuals and society. Economics shows that investment at the start of life generates the greatest returns.

We are calling for investment to deliver the Government’s Start for Life Vision. This includes a £500 million ringfenced uplift in the Public Health Grant over the next three years. This will enable local authorities to create strong and innovative Health Visiting services able to play their role in increasing opportunity for our citizens and reducing long-term burdens on the NHS.

Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV, commented:

“I am delighted that so many organisations and individuals have joined alongside the iHV, as part of the First 1001 Days Movement, calling for investment to deliver the Government’s Start for Life Vision and increase the number of health visitors.

“We hear daily how the NHS is flooded with growing need – now is the time to #TurnOffTheTaps.

“The evidence is clear that investing in the earliest years of a child’s life is the smartest of all investments – we don’t need any more evidence for this. It is time to stop admiring the problem and invest in the infrastructure of support that will actually make the difference.

“We urge all health visitors to join this campaign and speak out about the vital work that they are doing. We would also like to thank all of our partners for their unwavering support.”

What is the #TurnOffThe taps campaign?

It is clear that reducing short term burdens on the NHS is a priority for the Government. Therefore our campaign focuses on how investment in health visiting can reduce demand for NHS services.

Our Health Visiting Ask

  1. We are calling for investment to deliver the Government’s Start for Life Vision, including improvements in parent and infant mental health services, breastfeeding, maternity and health visiting services.
  2. This includes a £500 million ringfenced uplift in the Public Health Grant over the next three years which would enable growth in health visitor numbers and strengthening the leadership in health visiting services.
  3. We are calling on Government to invest enough to reach a total of 5000 new health visitors over the next 5 years, with 3000 in this spending review period.
  4. In addition to the extra health visitors, the £500 million includes funding to increase the leadership capacity in health visiting service. This additional capacity would enable service leaders to drive excellence in practice through workforce development, research, service innovation and strong integration with other services.

How can you get involved?

The most important thing you can do is to tell your story. Get on social media and/or contact your MP and share YOUR stories about how health visitors give children the best start in life and can help to reduce demands on the NHS.

To support this campaign, you can:

  1. Share the calls to action on social media  – please see hashtag #TurnOffTheTaps
    • Please share content about the campaign from Wednesday 22 Sept onwards and increase activity around the 30 Sept, but please share your own stories too!
  2. Send a letter to your MP
    • Tailor the letter template and send it to your local MP. Tailor the letter to your local context. Perhaps explain what you do and invite the MP to visit your service; give a case study to show the work of local health visitors and/or talk about local cuts to services.
    • Please include the campaign briefing with the letter when you send it.
    • To find your local MP’s details go to https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

What the First 1001 Days Movement is doing

In addition to the materials to support you as above, the First 1001 Days Movement will:

  • Submit a formal representation to Treasury.
  • Write to Maggie Throup the new Public Health Minister
  • Try to secure press coverage for the campaign

What iHV is doing

Further to above, the iHV will also be submitting our response to the Spending Review on the 30 September with a consistent ‘ask’ of the Government to invest £500m in health visiting from across the sector.