20th June 2023
Last week was a busy week for health visiting in the media, shining a much-needed spotlight on our profession. Alongside Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales’ visit to Nuneaton to meet health visitors in South Warwickshire last Thursday, BBC The One Show also featured health visitors involved in the Alarm Distress Baby Scale (ADBB) trial in Hull (you can read more about the trial here). Justine Rooke, General Manager, Children’s and Learning Disability Services, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, speaks about what this fabulous opportunity to work with The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood means for them in our latest Voices blog.
Being approached by the Institute of Health Visiting to support The Royal Foundation’s feasibility study on the Alarm Distress Baby Scale was exactly one of those moments which makes me proud to be managing the 0-19 services for Humber Teaching Foundation Trust. Undoubtably, as most of you know reading this blog, if you ask a health visitor to undertake a challenge which involves positive change for babies, children and families, in all certainty, you will get back a resounding ‘Yes’ – they want to make a difference, and this was certainly the response from the Humber Health Visiting teams when asked to take part in this study.
Alongside the upbeat morale of the team, was the desire to embark with curiosity and open mindedness in what they could learn from another European country about the development of infants and, most importantly, what could support positive infant mental health for the city of Hull.
Supporting this study has left me filled with enthusiasm for the future of our profession. Having The Princess of Wales draw attention to the early years in a baby’s life will shine a light of knowledge and awareness at this most crucial time in a child’s development. This can only lead to increased parental involvement, awareness and investment in the early years and something that all health visitors will cheer.
We were proud to have The One Show join us on a home visit last week. For the Humber Health Visiting teams this was certainly their time to take the spotlight and represent Health Visiting on a nation platform. Baby Noah stole the show of course! Thank you to his Mum India for welcoming us and for talking about her experiences as a new parent.
The One Show team also met with health visitors, including Karen Hardy, Specialist Health Visitor for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health to talk about the trial and how they will use the ADBB to support the families in their care.
Rebecca Price, Modern Matron, Hull 0-19 Integrated Public Health Nursing Service at the Trust, said:
“It’s exciting to be hosting this study in Hull to develop and support positive infant parent relationships. Our interactions and relationships during our earliest years are crucial in promoting social and emotional wellbeing, providing vital foundations which shape the rest of our lives. Being chosen is testament to the team’s commitment to families in our community and ensuring that delivering the highest standards of care to them they are at the heart of what we do.”
Michele Moran, Chief Executive at the Trust, said:
“Congratulations to the team on being chosen as a pilot for this project. As a health visitor, I am passionate about the role the profession plays enhancing health and reducing health inequalities. Our teams across Hull and East Yorkshire provide a proactive and universal service which supports thousands of parents of under 5s. This trial will help enhance that offer, ensuring that every child is given the best possible chance at building positive and healthy relationships.”
One year ago, Humber TFT embarked on a massive challenge to transform the city of Hull’s 0-19 service and we knew that positive infant mental health had to be one of the key objectives in this modernisation. We pledged to increase the health visitor numbers and bring in specialist posts to help address health inequalities. The increased workforce supports face-to-face contacts as the norm and allows for coverage of the Healthy Child Programme, and will also support the roll out of the ADBB study.
Seeing our teams on The One Show delivering this very special project, alongside the Institute of Health Visiting, has left me in awe and admiration of our service leads and teams as they adapt and extend their practices to accommodate this study and support the identification of a baby’s social and emotional needs at such an early developmental stage.
As health visitors, we are wholeheartedly aware that we hold an opportunity to transform the lives of thousands of children and babies in our daily interactions and relationships with families. We are so proud to have been chosen to work on this important project. The ADBB study will not only help us to reach our ambition to give every child the best start in life and make that sure no child is left behind.
It is an incredible opportunity and privilege and one we intend to grow alongside our future workforce for the fabulous city of Hull.
What an exciting time ….