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Delivery of the Five Mandated Contacts: Antenatal Contact

26th September 2016

In 2011 The Department of Health published ‘A Call to Action’ this then led to the ‘Health Visiting Implementation Plan’ which was an unprecedented investment in Health Visiting and significantly increased the number of health visitors in Birmingham and across the country. In my own Team there were three new health visitors and, when I think back to when I commenced there in early 2009, I was the only health visitor for 800 children with one Nursery Nurse for support – the progress we have made is staggering.

In particular I have found that the antenatal visit is a huge opportunity to develop therapeutic relationships with our clients and begin to empower and influence their decision-making. We can discuss the method of feeding, brain development, attachment, smoking, alcohol consumption, maternal mental health, domestic abuse and engaging with fathers, underpinned by the Promotional Guide Framework developed by The Centre for Parent and Child Support and our own Standard Operating Procedures.

This was very well summed up by one of our clients Nicola Byrne:

“As a Mother I think that the five contacts are essential to provide relevant advice, guidance and assurance as to each child’s progress. Every child is different and it is easy as a parent to compare one child to another (whether it is a sibling or another child the same age) which can cause undue concern. I have been lucky in that all visits for both children were conducted by the same competent Health Professional and this is the way it should be, consistent for every family.”

Nicola Byrne with her children

Nicola Byrne with her children

For me the increase in staff has enabled us to consistently increase our delivery of the five mandated visits within the Healthy Child Programme and really begin to utilise Professor Viv Bennett’s 4-5-, Viv Benntt6 model. There certainly are challenges delivering a health visiting service in Birmingham, we are the largest Community Trust in the country which always means that communication is an issue for us and, more recently being commissioned by the Local Authority, will now mean we face huge financial challenges as we develop our Early Years and Well Being Model. Despite this, I feel much more able to deliver a high quality service and offer continuity of care to the families that we work with, and hopefully influence our future service provision.

Penny Dougan, Senior Practice Teacher/Health Visitor

Penny Dougan, Senior Practice Teacher/Health Visitor

Penny Dougan, Senior Practice Teacher/Health Visitor