We’re thrilled to support the launch of the #MaternalHealthMatters campaign with The For Baby’s Sake Trust. Together, we’re raising awareness for safer childbirth experiences.

The For Baby’s Sake Trust, a charity dedicated to breaking cycles of domestic abuse and giving babies the best start in life, launched their ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign yesterday, on Mother’s Day 2024. As maternal mortality rates in the UK reach a two-decade high (according to data from MBRRACE-UK), the Institute of Health Visiting, alongside Best Beginnings and St Michael’s Fellowship, is delighted to partner The For Baby’s Sake Trust in this campaign to advocate for practical action to ensure every parent feels safe, heard and supported, including the use of Emotional Safety Plans in every Maternity Unit across the country.

The ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the alarming rise in maternal mortality rates and offers solutions to the resounding calls of parents and professionals to feel heard. Central to the campaign is The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s Emotional Safety Plans, developed with Best Beginnings, which expectant parents (and family, friends and birth companions) can use to record what they need to feel emotionally safe before, during and after birth.

The campaign also emphasises a whole family approach and shines a light on the importance of providing emotional support to fathers and partners as they also go through the journey of pregnancy and parenting, with Emotional Safety Plans available for completion by anyone who needs them during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Judith Rees, Director of Operations at The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said:

“The Emotional Safety Plan tool is for anyone preparing for the birth of a baby. You can use it to record what you may need to feel safe emotionally and how midwives and other professionals can be supportive by their words, actions and making sure you feel heard.  It is especially useful for those who have had difficult or traumatic experiences in the past, or on the way to becoming a parent.”

Alongside the Emotional Safety Plans for parents, The For Baby’s Sake Trust has also developed tools to support the emotional health of midwives and other professionals on the front line, in response to the pressure on maternity and perinatal services. The Trust implores that the dedication and care of those on the front line cannot be underestimated, and it is vital that they receive the emotional support they need.

Alison Morton, CEO of the Institute of Health Visiting said:

“Having a baby is life changing – and we know that the journey through pregnancy, birth and beyond can include a rollercoaster of emotions as mothers, fathers and co-parents navigate the ups and downs along the way. Everyone’s experience is unique. For some, domestic abuse and trauma can make parenting much harder, harming the lives of so many. We are therefore delighted to partner with The For Baby’s Sake Trust on their campaign for emotional safety planning to be part of routine care before, during and after the birth, alongside their wider work to break the cycle of domestic abuse”.

The ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign runs from Mother’s Day 2024 until World Health Day on 17 April 2024. To learn more, please head to www.forbabyssake.org.uk/maternalhealthmatters

All the Emotional Safety Plan templates and guidance for parents and professionals, plus the animated film can be accessed here.

Maternal Health Matters webinar

There will be a FREE webinar on 16 April 2024 from 3pm–4pm, hosted by The For Baby’s Sake Trust team and a range of other speakers.

Join the webinar to hear influential voices in the maternal health and birth trauma space together, and guide professionals and parents through the Emotional Safety Plan tools.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has launched a new multi-media marketing campaign across England to remind parents and carers of the risk of their children missing out on protection against serious diseases that are re-emerging in the country – with an urgent call to action to catch up on missed vaccinations.

The campaign went live today (4 March) with a powerful video advert told from the perspective of children and in their voices. “Our generation’s risk of illnesses like measles and whooping cough is rising” they tell their parents and carers looking straight into camera – “If we’re not vaccinated, we’re not protected.”

The campaign theme and materials, based on insight and feedback from parents in the North West, were developed by UKHSA in partnership with DHSC Marketing, Liverpool City Council, NHS England, NHS North West and NHS Greater Manchester.

The campaign comes as the latest weekly update today on measles cases in England shows there have been another 69 cases in the past week, bringing the total number of laboratory confirmed measles cases reported since 1 October 2023 to 650.

Professor Helen Bedford, Professor of Children’s Health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOS ICH) and iHV Expert Adviser: Immunisations, said:

Every year, vaccination saves millions of children’s lives, so it is a huge concern that uptake of vaccines has been in decline in England for the past ten years. This has left many children and young people unprotected against potentially serious diseases and we are already seeing numbers of cases of measles and whooping cough increasing. However, we can prevent this taking further hold. Vaccines are free, highly effective and have a good safety record – and it is never too late to catch up if they have been missed. We owe it to our children to ensure they are protected.

Uptake levels of childhood vaccines offered through the routine NHS vaccination programme in England have been falling over the past decade across all vaccines, including whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella, polio, meningitis and diphtheria – with England no longer having the levels of population immunity recommended by the World Health Organization that is needed to prevent outbreaks. Crucially, lower vaccine uptake within communities is directly linked to wider health inequalities.

To counter this decline, UKHSA is co-ordinating its national marketing campaign with an NHS operational MMR catch up campaign. Areas with low uptake will be a focus for support and parents of children aged from six to 11 years will be contacted directly and urged to make an appointment with their child’s GP practice for any missed MMR vaccines.

In addition to the TV advert, the campaign will be seen across a range of channels and formats including radio advertising, digital display, online and on social media. Additional advertising will be seen in the West Midlands, North West and London where there are larger pockets of low uptake. The campaign will be supported by a number of key stakeholders, including local authorities and NHS organisations.

On 15 November 2023, Alison Morton iHV CEO will join The Shaping Us Symposium, hosted by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales and The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, at The Design Museum in London. The event will bring together cross-disciplinary leaders, child and adult specialists, and global thinkers for the first time to consider how we grow, think, and behave throughout life, in order to build resilience for the future.

Earlier this year, Alison was interviewed as part of a “global listening exercise” conducted by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, involving experts from 21 countries around the world, to unite the thinking and agree on the key foundational skills that shape everything from our ability to form positive relationships, to our capacity for learning, working, and coping with adversity. They all have their foundations in early childhood.

This work has been undertaken to agree a set of common core skills that can apply equally to children and adults, so we can bring people together with a united language and vision to drive action at every level. The Shaping Us National Symposium will share the findings from this exercise and focus on the action needed to make social and emotional skills a greater priority.

The Symposium will begin with a keynote speech, delivered by The Princess of Wales. Mental health and wellbeing advocate, and Shaping Us Champion Fearne Cotton, will host the event. The day will also feature talks from a range of thought leaders to outline the scientific, economic and human cases for prioritising early childhood, and our social and emotional development, including:

  • Professor Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard.
  • Sara Rajeswaran, Chief of Staff at Aviva, a key member of the Business Taskforce for Early Childhood which The Princess launched in March.
  • Professor Robert Waldinger, Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever conducted.

During the afternoon, Symposium attendees will join a series of workshops to look at what action can be taken at every level to protect and strengthen these skills for current and future generations across disciplines and across sectors.

The event and the research that has been carried out by The Centre for Early Childhood is a key milestone for The Centre’s Shaping Us campaign, which aims to increase awareness of, and action on, the unique importance of early childhood in shaping our future mental and physical wellbeing as adults, as well as the nature of the wider society we build.

Alison Morton, iHV CEO said:

“It is a privilege and a pleasure to support the work of HRH The Princess of Wales which is galvanising a global movement focused on the importance of the earliest years of life. The sharp focus and vision of The Centre for Early Childhood aligns closely with ours at the Institute – by laying strong foundations for social and emotional wellbeing in early childhood, we are making the smartest of all investments in the health and happiness of a rising generation of children”.

Use #ShapingUs to follow and support the campaign on social media.


NHS pledges more support for victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse alongside powerful awareness campaign

Victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse are being encouraged to come forward for NHS help and care, as part of a major campaign backed by a £20 million boost to specialist services.

The new campaign comes as a survey of more than 4000 people across the country, conducted by Censuswide, found that two in five people aren’t sure, or do not know where to get help after being sexually assaulted, with 72% unaware there are NHS specialist sexual assault services who can offer confidential support.

The campaign, which is championed by former Prime Minister Theresa May and the Duchess of Cornwall will raise awareness of the specialist support offered at dozens of sexual assault referral centres (SARCs). They offer 24/7 confidential specialist, practical, medical, and emotional support to anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted, or abused – regardless of when the incident happened.

The SARCs campaign is backed by Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and is being promoted by NHS Safeguarding via the national safeguarding networks. A campaign film has been produced alongside a powerful animation which addresses the common questions and concerns many people face after experiencing sexual assault, abuse, or rape, including not knowing who or where to turn.

Georgina Mayes, Policy and Quality Lead at iHV, commented:

“Health visitors, through their universal reach into all families, are well placed to identify and support people who have been sexually assaulted or abused. The iHV urges all health visitors to familiarise themselves with the SARC resources and would value their support with raising awareness of this campaign.”

Further resources:

  • More information on what help is available after rape, sexual assault or abuse can be found at nhs.uk/SARCs.
  • Health visitors can find their nearest SARC via the directory.
  • More information on how to recognise the signs of domestic violence and abuse, and where to get help, can be found on the UK website.
  • Further information about the Censuswide survey can be found here.
  • The NHS Pledge and further campaign information can be found here.
  • Campaign resources can be found here.

Yesterday’s Budget and Spending Review was launched with the title ‘A stronger economy for the British people  – it sets out the Government’s priorities and vision of a Global Britain.

Why is prioritising the ‘best start in life’ important for a ‘Global Britain’?

The evidence is clear that, if we want a ‘Global Britain’, we need to invest in our human future and build an infrastructure of support for babies, children and families to improve outcomes, reduce inequalities, and build happy, healthy and prosperous adults.

However, we currently have some of the worst child health outcomes in Western Europe, with widening inequalities and spiralling costs of child protection and late intervention. Put bluntly, as a country we are spending more than £16 billion pounds on costly late interventions, or ‘getting it wrong’, every year (and this is estimated to be only a fraction of the true costs). We need to do better.

In the run up to the Spending Review, more than 700 leading children’s organisations came together with ‘one voice’ and called on the Government to do things differently with investment in a public health approach. A national campaign to ‘turn off the taps, rather than mop the floor’ highlighted the importance of tackling the root causes of poor child health outcomes with prevention and early intervention which have been shown to make the biggest difference and make sound economic sense. This included a united call for 3,000 additional health visitors in the next three years.

Yesterday’s budget contained some ‘good news’ for babies:

The Treasury has listened, and we thank them for this. The funding announced yesterday is a welcome step in the right direction and will undoubtedly make a difference to many families. This autumn budget represents a significant turning point with a statement from the Chancellor that he had acknowledged the important work led by Dame Andrea Leadsom MP in her ‘Early Years Healthy Development Review’,

For too long, far too long, the location of your birth has determined too much of your future… the awesome power of opportunity shouldn’t be available only to a wealthy few… but be the birth right of every child in an independent and prosperous United Kingdom. The evidence is compelling that the first 1,001 days of a child’s life are the most important”.

We would like to personally thank Dame Andrea Leadsom MP for her tireless work, over many years, making the case for babies and their families in the House.

Yesterday’s budget included a £500 million investment package over the next three years to support families and transform ‘Start for Life’ and family help services in half of the council areas across England. This will fund a network of Family Hubs, Start for Life services, perinatal mental health support, breastfeeding services and parenting programmes. It will also expand the Supporting Families programme, providing up to 300,000 families with high quality, multidisciplinary support.

The iHV welcomes all of these initiatives – in particular, we have worked with Leadsom in her campaign for well-resourced Family Hubs and additional funding to improve perinatal mental health support – these all represent an important step in the right direction.

What about health visiting? Did the Government deliver their pledge to rebuild health visiting and the Healthy Child Programme’?

It’s difficult to see from yesterday’s Spending Review how the Government will deliver on their pledge to ‘rebuild health visiting’ or how Family Hubs can be successful without a highly skilled workforce. We need a skilled workforce to welcome and work with families who attend the Hubs, but most importantly, if we are really serious about reducing inequalities, to reach out to the multitude of families who will not attend. The evidence is clear that the families who need the most support are the least likely to easily engage with services – they need a skilled health visiting workforce to ‘reach out’ to them.

Yesterday was not ‘our day’ – there was no workforce plan to deliver the additional 3,000 health visitors needed over the next three years to address the national shortfall of 5,000 health visitors, or ensure that the health visiting workforce is strengthened to address current and future ‘health’ priorities. The Healthy Child Programme is a ‘health’ policy and much of the work requires a highly skilled ‘health’ workforce – it is therefore essential that we have a workforce plan which delivers a ‘health’ workforce – it is ‘safety critical’, not just a ‘nice to have’.

The only mention of health visiting was a pledge that, “Trials of innovative workforce models for health visitors will also be funded in a smaller number of council areas to test approaches to improve the support available to new parents” – the pre-budget announcement indicated that this would be £10 million.

Whether this is good news or not, will really depend on the detail of this proposal. As part of our Spending Review submission, we proposed the establishment of ‘ICS academies for child and family health’ within selected early adopter sites, to bring partners together to collectively plan, test and refine health and care services to meet the needs of babies, children, families and communities. Working in more integrated ways represents a significant shift in health policy, it will therefore be important to have systems in place to support and evaluate the implementation of ICSs and inform wider system learning. It is unclear whether this is what is being proposed.

Given that the Best Start in Life budget delivery metrics all relate to ‘education’, our longstanding concerns are that ‘health’ is not a priority in the Early Start vision and, as such, the important ‘health’ function of health visitors will continue to be overlooked. Others have expressed concerns that the “innovative workforce models” described are actually a dilution of the health visiting workforce to increase the proportion of lower-skilled staff.

Are we being ungrateful, £500 million is a lot of money? It’s all a matter of priorities:

We recognise that the Government faces a tight fiscal settlement, having already invested significant sums of money into almost every part of society. In terms of Government priorities:

  • £100 billion was committed in March 2021 as part of the ‘Build back better’ plan for infrastructure projects (including buildings, roads and bridges).
  • Yesterday’s budget set out that total departmental spending is set to grow in real terms at 3.8% a year on average over this Parliament – a cash increase of £150 billion a year by 2024-25.
  • The total investment to specifically support education recovery is £4.9 billion (from academic year 2020-21).
  • Pubs have been prioritised – the duty rate cuts announced yesterday amount to £3 billion over the next five years.
  • We are facing spiralling costs of not intervening early – the recent Royal Foundation report calculated that we spend more than £16 billion pounds on costly late interventions, or ‘getting it wrong’ every year.

You decide – have we got our priorities right with only £500 million for babies and young children, who represent our ‘human potential’?  Against a backdrop of piecemeal child health policies and years of disinvestment, with £1 billion stripped from the public health grant, the sector is united that this does not go far enough.

But for now, there are still opportunities for health visitors to maximise – keep close to the iHV as there is work to be done and plans are already emerging for next steps.

We look to the future when one day we can shift from a budget titled A stronger economy for the British people’ to one which prioritises people through ‘Stronger people for the British economy’.

Calling all health visitors and health visiting teams! We really need your help to increase our response rate to our annual state of health visiting survey.

The great news is we have had 884 responses to our survey so far (and a huge thanks to everyone who has already completed it!). The bad news is that, at the moment, thousands of health visitors will not get their views heard!

Our target is to reach 1000 responses as minimum!

I cannot stress how important our annual survey is. We will use the evidence to create a powerful picture of the current state of health visiting which we will use to influence national decisions.

Big decisions are being made right now about the funding for health visiting and the ways that the service is delivered In England – there is also a lot of variation across the UK which we need to demonstrate. Help us tell your story. What do you think? Is it working? What needs to change? Have your say to benefit the health of all families and your staff.

If we don’t speak out as health visitors, policymakers will presume that everything is working well. We know that you may be feeling tired and exhausted – or feel that your views won’t make any difference. Thank you for all that you’re doing supporting babies, children and their families, it really does make a difference and your views really do count.

A big response rate will provide evidence that will be difficult to ignore. Only last week we saw how the views of 3,000 organisations and individuals, who came together with ‘one voice’, stopped Hampshire’s decision to cut their health visiting service.

This is where I need your help – don’t presume that others will do this for you – please take 20 minutes out of your very busy day and complete the survey yourself, and encourage your colleagues to do the same. This will possibly be the best use of 20 minutes that you will have as health visitors today to change the future of our profession. Make a plan – do it now, or find some time in the next week to have your say.

The survey contains a variety of questions to capture the state of health visiting, including:

  • The ratio of children under 5 years per health visitor (if you get stuck on this question, please ask your manager to help you – the data is anonymised, so you can ‘tell it as it is’. The survey contains details on how to calculate this).
  • Workforce forecasting – numbers of health visitors planning to retire or leave health visiting in the next 5 years.
  • Changes in children and families’ vulnerability.
  • Staff wellbeing.
  • Staff CPD needs.

I hope that you will join with me and the hundreds of health visitors who have completed the survey so far – be part of the 1,000!!

Thanks so much for your support

Alison Morton, Executive Director, iHV

How to take part in the annual State of Health Visiting Survey

For those people on our mailing lists (including members and expired members), you will have received an email from us with the survey link. So please do check your emails.

For those health visitors or members of health visiting teams who are not on our mailing lists, or can’t find your email, and would like to complete this vital survey, please contact [email protected] to request the survey link.

Thank you so much for helping us to help you. Together we are stronger.

#BuildBackChildhood #ChildrenAtTheHeart

As part of the Health Policy Influencing Group, the iHV is delighted to support the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) with the vision to #BuildBackChildhood which harnesses the support of over 700 organisations demanding that the Chancellor makes a strategic investment in babies, children, young people and families at the autumn Spending Review.  It is the latest action in the high-profile Children at the Heart movement, coordinated by the National Children’s Bureau, calling for children to be remembered in spending plans.

Babies and children’s health, wellbeing and life chances are strongly shaped by the circumstances of their birth and the environments in which they live. The pandemic has exposed widening health inequalities, with disadvantaged children falling even further behind and vulnerable children bearing the impact of disruption to education and other vital services.

“As we recover, we face a choice: do we create a more level playing field in our society? Or do we simply return to what was there before? It’s this government’s mission to unite and level up across the whole of the UK, to build back better and to build back fairer.” – Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health

The NCB highlights how the Spending Review is a turning point:

“Instead of going back to how things were, this is our chance to look to the future – a future where every child feels safe, secure and supported. This is our chance to Build Back Childhood to ensure that babies, children and young people are not forgotten.

Public services are caught in a cycle of increasing demand and late intervention. We risk every penny of the new NHS and social care levy being swallowed up by increased demand unless this is resolved. The Government must explicitly re-balance spending towards prevention and early intervention in childhood in order to reduce costs and burden on the NHS.

The #BuildBackChildhood campaign includes the following policy recommendations:

  • £500 million ringfenced uplifts in the Public Health Grant over the next three years to train and recruit 3000 new health visitors. This will enable local authorities to create strong and innovative health visiting services.
  • Reverse the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit and increase legacy benefits by £20 a week – reducing child poverty by 350,000.
  • Scrap the benefit cap and two-child limit – this would only cost £1.9 billion and would pull nearly 300,000 children out of poverty.
  • £103 million per year to support 500,000 young people through community mental health hubs.
  • An expansion of the Family Hubs network to provide an access point in local communities to provide help for families who need it.
  • Doubling the Supporting Families Programme to £330 million to provide early help to families facing multiple disadvantages.
  • The rapid expansion of Mental Health Support Teams so that all pupils are schools are covered by 2023.
  • Local areas to tackle the backlog of assessments and address the impact of missed therapies.
  • The launch of an independent review into childcare and early education funding and affordability, including whether current spending is sufficient to deliver the free entitlements.

“We are delighted to support this growing groundswell of organisations coming together with a united voice calling on the Government to #BuildBackChildhood . The evidence is clear, if we are serious about wanting to ‘level-up’ society and support public services which are flooded with increasing need, it is essential that we start in the earliest years of life and invest in our children, who are our future – there is no smarter investment” – Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV

NCB #BuildBackChildhood campaign supporters

Investing in giving children the best start for life not only improves their life chances, but also reduces the demands on public services. As highlighted by the #TurnOffTheTaps Campaign launched last week, it’s time for a different approach. The UK is investing billions in overstretched health and social care services, which are flooded with growing needs.  It’s time to turn off the taps. It’s time to invest in health promotion and prevention in the earliest years of life.

Vicky Gilroy, iHV Head of Projects and Evaluation, said:

“The iHV is delighted that the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), in their newly launched “Turning the Tide: A 10-year Healthy Weight Strategy”, has recognised and promoted the important role that health visitors play, providing individualised family-centred support to all families to reduce the impact of obesity.”

The Turning the Tide: A 10-year Healthy Weight Strategy, launched on 28 September 2021, makes 30 recommendations covering food and drink marketing in the early years, along with treatment, support and the need to address stigma, as well as the infrastructure needed to ensure that policies are robustly implemented and evaluated. The Strategy has been developed with an expert working group of academics, clinicians and policy experts, along with other expert advisors and OHA members. It brings together a wide range of public health stakeholders calling for evidence-informed approaches to improving healthy weight.

Key headlines from the Early Years Chapter of the Strategy include:

  1. An increase in health visitor universal ‘contacts’ (home visits or clinic appointments) to a minimum of eight
    • – Providing greater opportunities for the provision of advice and support on infant feeding and the promotion of healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weight.
    • – Enabling the early identification of children at risk of unhealthy growth with enhanced, tailored follow-up where needed to improve outcomes.
  2. Practical face-to-face breastfeeding support should be available to all women, delivered by appropriately qualified midwives, midwife support workers, health visitors or breastfeeding specialists, and assisted by trained peer supporters.
  3. Comprehensive training should enable and equip professionals working with expectant parents and families to discuss healthy weight and healthy eating in an empathetic manner, ensuring that the advice they receive is based on the best current independent evidence.

It’s time to turn the tide and halt the rise in obesity with a long-term approach to healthy weight. We support the OHA’s new healthy weight strategy with 30 evidence-informed actions. #TurnTheTide 

Public services are flooded with increasing needs. It’s time to invest in health visiting to #TurnOffTheTaps. 

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), working together with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF), The Sleep Charity and parents/carers, is delighted to share an animation for health, education and social care professionals to raise awareness and understanding of behaviour in the early years, what restrictive practice looks like in the under 5s, and the importance of respectful, behavioural support strategies that safeguard the rights of young children with disabilities.

This co-produced animation shares the voices of parents/ carers through one family’s journey. This new animation aims to help inform the practice of all professionals when supporting families to aid understanding of behaviour. The animation is supported by a range of new resources specifically for health visitors that collate information about understanding behaviour and using appropriate interventions, and to offer alternatives to restrictive practices. To find out more about these resources and accompanying training to support practice please contact [email protected] .

Vicky Gilroy, Head of Projects at iHV, said:

“Health visitors are often the first person that families turn to when they are struggling with their child’s behaviour. However, identifying, understanding and supporting non-restrictive practice is not part of a health visitor’s general training and there are few resources available for health visitors to help them in this specific aspect of their role. Developing evidence-based resources for health visitors will support health visitors and their teams to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence in identifying and supporting children and their parents in this area of practice.”

Gemma Grant, Children & Young People Policy Lead at the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said:

“Children who have a developmental delay are more likely to display behaviours that challenge. Health visitors have a key role in supporting families in the early years and offer trusted advice on how best to respond to the challenges parents face. We are delighted to support the launch of this animation which will equip health visitors with the knowledge to support families to understand behaviour, reduce the use of restrictive practices and ensure children with developmental disabilities get the best start in life.”

This project, supported by a grant from The Burdett Trust for Nursing, aimed to raise health visitors’ awareness of the practical and ethical issues of restrictive and restraining practices in the early years and to promote the importance of respectful, behavioural support strategies that safeguard the rights of young children with disabilities. Improving health visitors’ awareness and confidence in this area of their work will enable them to support and encourage parents to implement behavioural strategies with their children from an early age and avoid restrictive practices which can become difficult to change once embedded.


The iHV has provided the Treasury with the latest evidence and cost benefits for new investment into health visiting as part of its multi-year Spending Review. The Spending Review representation makes the case for improving outcomes for babies, children and families through a strengthened health visiting service.

In this submission, we have offered solutions to the challenges that this country faces with a growing NHS backlog and billions spent annually on costly late intervention. 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.
  • Investing enough to reach a total of 5,000 additional health visitors over the next 5 years, with 3,000 in this spending review.
  • Strengthening the leadership capability in health visiting services.
  • ‘ICS academies for child and family health’ within selected early adopter sites. Improving integration represents a fundamental shift in health and care delivery and it will be important to have systems in place to support and evaluate the implementation of ICSs and inform wider system learning.

We are delighted to have such a groundswell of support for this call for investment in health visiting from leading professional bodies, organisations and experts working to improve outcomes for children and reduce inequalities. They represent a united and powerful voice for change.

We have more evidence than any other generation that investment in the earliest years of life represents the smartest of all investments. We also have some of the worst child health outcomes amongst comparable nations, with widening inequalities.

Collectively, we have come together to present a clear blueprint for the future that should not be ignored.

The Chancellor has said that the Spending Review will make people’s lives better by levelling up across the UK, building infrastructures for growth with strong and innovative public services. The evidence is clear that investing in an infrastructure for the earliest years of life represents the smartest of all investments, building the human potential to advance ‘Global Britain’ and reducing inequalities, yet this currently receives insufficient attention.

It is time to for the Government to deliver on its pledge to ‘rebuild health visiting and the Healthy Child Programme’. This cannot be left for another 3 years.

We thank our partners for their support:

  • The ‘One Voice Partnership’ (which includes the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG); Sands and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
  • The First 1001 Days Movement
  • The National Network of Designated Healthcare Professionals for Children UK
  • Health Policy Influencing Group
  • Maternal Mental Health Alliance
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

We want everyone to know what health visitors do and why their role is so important. How can we expect the Government to invest in health visiting when the role is ‘hidden’?

We want to make the work of health visitors visible. The iHV has created two infographics which explain: ‘Who health visitors are and what they do’ #InvestInHealthVisiting.

Putting everything that health visitors do into a single infographic has been difficult, as they provide a vital infrastructure of support in the earliest years. We have therefore focused predominantly on the many ways that health visitors support the work of the NHS which is being flooded with rising need, as this is a government priority.

We appreciate that there is so much more that health visitors do that isn’t covered. This is just the beginning – in the coming months we will keep showcasing the fabulous work that health visitors are doing as a modern, innovative and essential workforce – a vital infrastructure for the earliest years.


iHV Infographic – Who are health visitors and what do they do?


iHV Infographic – It’s time to invest in health visiting because…

Calling all health visitors:

We invite you to find your inner warrior and share your stories on social media. How have you made a difference to babies, children and families? Support the #TurnOffTheTaps campaign and raise the profile of health visiting so every baby can get the best start in life. Together we are stronger. #InvestInHealthVisiting