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Institute of Health Visiting supports manifesto to turn around children’s lives

15th December 2015

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) welcomes the cross-party manifesto that highlights the importance of acting early to enhance the outcomes for children. The relaunch of the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto, on Monday 14 December, brings the importance of early years care for children to the forefront of politics ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday.

The relaunch of this key policy commitment is to achieve better perinatal mental health and stronger attachment between babies and their parents right from the start. The ‘1001 Critical Days Manifesto’ was originally launched in the last Parliament to persuade all political parties to incorporate these measures into their election manifestos.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said: “The Institute of Health Visiting is delighted to endorse the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto. As far as health visitors are concerned, the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto may yet prove to be one of the most important developments of the new millennium. It has created a long overdue focus on the essential first days of life when the blue print for an individual’s future health and wellbeing is laid down. Hence, this period also determines the future health of our society. If we are to manage many of society’s physical, social and emotional health challenges efficiently and effectively, health visitors know that we must start in the first 1001 critical days of life. The fact that government now knows that too will drive health improvements in our society.”

Over the last 2 ½ years, the iHV has trained over 500 health visitors across England to be Perinatal Mental Health Champions, over 250 to be Infant Mental Health Champions and the Institute’s Fellows have all pledged to support the manifesto as local ambassadors.  The champions training is now being rolled out to all health visitors to strengthen local health visiting services in support of the manifesto.

Many of the social problems seen in society today have resulted from poor parenting skills often as a result of a parent having had bad experiences as a baby and creating a generational downward spiral. The goal is for every baby to receive sensitive, appropriate and responsive care from their main caregivers in the first years of life with more proactive help from the NHS, health visitors, children’s centres and other public bodies engaged in a joined-up preventative strategy to affect great change, as pregnancy and the birth of a baby is a critical window of opportunity.

The new manifesto draws attention to a variety of concerning statistics, not least that around 26% of babies (198,000) in the UK are estimated to be living within complex family situation, of heighted risk where there are problems such as substance misuse, mental illness or domestic violence, whilst 36% of serious case reviews involve a baby under the age of one. The best chance to turn this around is during the 1001 critical days.

—-ENDS —-

For more information please contact: Julie Cooper on 07508 344716 or [email protected]

Notes to editors

About Relaunched 1001 Critical Days Manifesto

  • The ‘1001 Critical Days Manifesto’ was originally launched in the last Parliament to persuade all political parties to incorporate these measures into their election manifestos. It was spearheaded by Northamptonshire South MP Andrea Leadsom who originally set up a Parliamentary All Party Group to raise the profile of these crucial early years’ issues and is now Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
  • Now a record number of MPs from all sides of the House have put their names in support and are pressing ministers to adopt it as Government policy across a number of departments led by Health. The main sponsors include former Children’s Minister and Conservative MP Tim Loughton, Shadow Children’s Minister and Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, former Minister for Mental Health Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb and representatives from the SNP, Plaid, SDLP, DUP and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Read relaunched 1001 Critical Days Manifesto

About the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV)

  • The Institute of Health Visiting is a UK Centre of Excellence supporting the development of universally high-quality health visiting practice. It was launched on 28 November 2012 to promote excellence in health visiting practice to benefit all children, families and communities. 
  • The aim for the iHV is to raise standards in health visiting practice, so improving public health outcomes for all children, families and communities.
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  • Follow the Institute of Health Visiting on Twitter @iHealthVisiting and Facebook
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