10th November 2017
Christine Bidmead, MSc, PhD, RN, RM, RHV
Christine Bidmead, who sadly died in the early hours of 5 November 2017, had been a health visitor since 1979. Her CV was impressive – professional and academic qualifications, membership or chairing many committees and working groups, advisory roles and lists of publications. Christine was a co-founder and long term Chair of the CPHVA’s Parenting and Family Support Interest Group and as a member of their National Professional Committee. Her advocacy for parents and children was impressive, focusing especially on the most disadvantaged, as when she served as a Trustee on Action for Prisoner’s Families, or as an advisor to Government when setting up Sure Start. After more than 20 years on the front line of health visiting, Christine’s final paid role was as a training facilitator with the Centre for Parent and Child Support at Guy’s and Maudsley Hospitals, which took her all around the country, meeting and inspiring very many health visitors. It also gave her the opportunity to develop her writing and research, at which she excelled. Her doctoral work, completed in 2013, focused on the parent-health visitor relationship, identifying its unique attributes and developing an instrument to measure it.
We will miss Christine’s industry, her tremendous passion for health visiting and contribution to the profession. Yet, the things that shone through, which are repeated again and again as I have spoken to colleagues and friends about her untimely death, is her warmth, wisdom and inspirational humanity. Christine’s drive came from a complete commitment to improving people’s lives and an ability to cut through the noise and emotion, to provide clarity in any situation. Above all, her much-loved family (she leaves her parents, husband, three children and grandchildren) provided her base of support, and they will miss her most of all.
Sarah Cowley, 09-11-17
I had the great privilege and pleasure to work with Christine over many years as Co-Chair of the Specialist Interest Group for Parenting and Family Support which she founded and also at Netmums. Christine was one of the first health visitors with Liz Andrews to pilot the Netmums Parent Support service using professional support.
Christine was a visionary leader and huge inspiration to many. She worked tirelessly as an advocate for health visiting, parent and family support and working in partnership with parents. She was a pioneer in much of the work she did, she led the way and others followed. Christine was also a warm, caring, compassionate human being who had a strong sense of fairness and justice, particularly for those who did not have a voice or were not heard. She was humble, kind, an amazing listener and exemplified the Family Partnership Model. Christine worked incredibly hard and was highly intelligent and articulate – she published many articles and books and gave evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee on health visiting. She studied hard and was thrilled to obtain her PhD.
She will be sadly missed by many, and touched many lives. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for all I learnt from her and the support and friendship she gave me over the years.
Maggie Fisher, friend and colleague.
I recall the enthusiasm that Christine showed as we described the idea that health visiting might be practised through an online forum. She proved us right by joining Netmums alongside Maggie Fisher and others, and helping us develop new ways of working. Christine particularly enjoying supporting parents of children with sleep problems; writing articles describing best practice as a basis and then bringing it to life and fine tuning the advice by working together with parents. It was always a collaborative process, working with families over days or weeks to solve issues, while also knowing that hundreds of other families were benefiting from the online discussions.
This was the first example of support provided through a public Forum and, although already in her retirement years, Christine was one of the pioneers that made it a huge success. Christine’s legacy lives on and the service that was set up celebrates its 10th year next year. We will always remember her and the impact she had on so many lives.
Sally Russell, Founder of Netmums and first Chair of iHV
I was so impressed with her passion and commitment when I worked with her. I actually covered her caseload for a while and it was evident that her clients also held her in high regard.
A sad loss indeed.
Denise Knight, former colleague in practice
Christine was one of those quiet but exceptional health visitors, and, as said already, very wise and enormously capable. Her research into the parent-health visitor relationship was fundamental to understanding health visiting professional practice but she did so much more. Rest in Peace Christine – you may have gone, but you will not be forgotten by the many you have touched.
Cheryll Adams, Long-term colleague
If anyone who knew Christine would like to make a donation, please send it to:
St Helena Hospice,
Fundraising Office, 1 The Atrium
Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road
Colchester, CO4 9AS
To donate by phone, please contact 01206 931468