iHV supports today’s call by the Local Government Association (LGA) for the Government to urgently publish local council’s Public Health Grant funding allocations. This is urgently needed to bring an end to the uncertainties around budgets for health visiting and other public health services.

A lack of certainty around councils’ public health funding that they will receive from April this year risks exacerbating the growing crisis of demand for support services that has built up as a result of the pandemic.

Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV, said:

“We support the LGA’s call for an end to the delays that are holding up the announcement of this year’s Public Health Great funding allocations – councils need to get on with their planning for this coming year.

“Across the sector we are also looking to this announcement for an uplift in the Public Health Grant and long-awaited investment in health visiting and school nursing services. In last year’s Spending Review submissions, more than 700 leading children’s organisations supported the iHV’s call for investment to enable local authorities to create strong and innovative health visiting services able to play their role in increasing opportunity for our citizens and reducing long-term burdens on the NHS.

“Babies cannot wait – the time to act is now, to reverse years of cuts to the service and a postcode lottery of support for families.”

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“Demand for vital treatment for drug and alcohol misuse, obesity, mental health and children’s health is rising and at risk of not being met, while we are still grappling with the impact of the Omicron surge.

“It is wrong that we are still in the dark about how much there is to spend on this essential treatment and support, which will better protect our population from future pandemics. The Government should act now and publish councils’ public health grant without further delay, so that we can get on with planning ahead for an anticipated post-Covid surge in requests for help.”

Councils need to make critical decisions on renewing contracts for vital public health services, including for health visiting, sexual and reproductive health and suicide prevention, potentially leaving people without crucial help and support.

Last year, councils received their public health funding allocations on 17 March. Less than two weeks before the start of the new financial year. This must not be repeated.

It’s a significant step that children are mentioned in the Queen’s speech to the Houses of Parliament:

“Measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years. My Ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high quality education and is able to fulfil their potential.”

We welcome this significant commitment from the Government set out in today’s Queen’s speech. We have more evidence than any other generation that investment in the earliest years of life is the smartest of all investments – this is not hypothetical. There is no time to waste, our youngest citizens have been overlooked for too long. We look forward to working with the Government to strengthen the health visiting service which forms an important part of the solution which will be crucial to ensure that every child really does fulfil their potential.

iHV welcomes a new report published today by the First 1001 Days Movement (F10001D) which provides insight into the impacts of COVID-19 and the Spring 2020 lockdown on babies.

The report, Working for Babies: Lockdown lessons from local systems, presents hard-hitting findings about the direct and indirect harm to babies, young children and their families caused by the pandemic. These “hidden harms” were broad and significant, and experienced unevenly depending on family circumstances and background.  Historically inadequate or insecure funding, and a rising tide of need, has inhibited the ability of some services and local systems to respond to the needs of babies and their families during the pandemic. There were often ‘baby blind-spots’ where babies’ needs were overlooked in policy, planning and funding.

However, the report also provides some “good news stories” of organisations and systems which reacted and adapted positively to the pandemic. The report introduces the concept of “baby-positive” local responses and provides the beginnings of a formula for what good local systems should look like. In particular, it sets out the positive difference that was made by professionals who were connected to each other, and to their communities, and were empowered to meet families’ needs.

Most importantly, the report seeks to ensure that lessons are learned for the future of service provision for this age group. It provides further evidence of the importance of many things that the iHV campaigns for, such as clear leadership, a focus on babies’ needs, and a joined-up response.

Alison Morton, Acting Executive Director of the iHV said:

This report adds further weight to the growing body of evidence on the direct and indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families with babies and young children. The message is clear, despite the indisputable evidence that the first 1001 days are the most crucial period of human development, babies and young children have largely been forgotten in the national pandemic response. Now we know better, we must do better.

“We hope the report brings a much-needed tipping point for change. It provides a powerful impetus to the Government to focus their efforts on the things that matter most by investing in our youngest citizens, to put things right and achieve their ambition to ‘build back better’.”

Working for Babies: Lockdown lessons from local systems

The report will be officially launched today at the APPG on Conception to Age Two meeting. For those not able to secure a space on at the APPG meeting itself, F1001D will be live streaming it at 3pm this afternoon via the Parent Infant Foundation YouTube channel. It will also be available to watch back later.

Please get involved by talking about the report on your social media channels! Get involved with the conversation and the report by using the hashtags #WorkingForBabies  #BabyBlindSpots on social media.

 

 

iHV is delighted to join over 140 organisations in a call to all political parties to put children and young people at the heart of this General Election.

Our open letter calls on all political leaders to set out their solutions to the pressing issues facing children and young people, including child poverty, mental health, domestic abuse and serious youth violence.

You can show your support on social media using the hashtag #ChildrenAtTheHeart

Children and young people are joining our call and raising their voices on social media, using the hashtag #IfIWerePM to share their priorities for the next Government.

United for better early years

Today, iHV is also a partner in a second letter calling for Party Leaders to take meaningful action to improve perinatal and early years support. These first 1,001 days are so critical to a child’s development – a better childhood starts right here.

 

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has written an open letter which challenges the main political parties in England to commit to important manifesto pledges for children which it hopes to see from the next government.

Children in the UK have some of the worst outcomes when compared with the rest of Europe and similar countries in the world. It’s time for solutions, our children cannot wait any longer.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director iHV, said: “The outcomes from disinvestment in preventative services for children are increasingly stark.  In the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children’.  There is no doubt that England needs to do much much better. Children are our future, get it right in the early years and all of society benefits.”

Now is the time for solutions:

A few weeks ago the Institute published “Health Visiting in England: A Vision for the future” which sets out how a robust health visiting service provides an important part of the solution to a multitude of government priorities, with 18 recommendations.

Of these, the three most urgent requests are:

  1. Local authorities need to receive urgent and ring-fenced public health investment to cancel planned cuts to the health visiting profession this year and next.
  2. A review of 0-5 public health funding is needed with a new mechanism for sustainable funding in England. A shift in emphasis in language and policy is needed, from “releasing efficiencies”/ short-term return on investment in 0-5 public health, to a recognition by government that investment in prevention and early intervention in the early years is a sound investment in our children’s and society’s futures.
  3. Urgent action is needed to rebuild the health visiting workforce, training 5000 health visitors is estimated to cost £137million. The public health grant would then need an uplift of £240million to cover these substantive posts. These costs are relatively insignificant against the cost of not intervening as set out in our Vision.

Read iHV’s letter to the political parties

Follow and support #FutureofHV on social media

 

The iHV is delighted to share the updated RCGP Child Safeguarding Toolkit.

Authored by safeguarding experts including Catherine Powell, Child Safeguarding Consultant, Institute of Health Visiting,  the updated Child Safeguarding Toolkit provides busy practitioners with an easily navigable resource to ensure excellence in safeguarding practice in Primary Care.

The purpose of the RCGP Child Safeguarding Toolkit is to support and enable best practice in safeguarding and child protection. This includes setting out the roles and responsibilities of GPs and their staff, in the recognition and referral of situations that indicate that a child (including an unborn child) may be at risk of significant harm.

The toolkit has been designed with the needs of the busy frontline practitioner, and useful links to updates on policy and practice for those who have a more senior leadership role.

Successful practice in safeguarding and child protection can be incredibly rewarding. However, the challenging nature of this topic, together with the emotional toil, should be acknowledged. Working with others is key to achieving best outcomes.

Building on previous versions, and designed to complement the Adult Safeguarding Toolkit launched in 2017, this latest edition highlights contemporary risks to children and young people including increasing awareness of risks to children from outside the home such as child sexual exploitation, trafficking, domestic abuse within teenage relationships, radicalisation and online abuse (these forms of abuse are referred to as ‘contextual safeguarding’ (Working Together, 2018). It also serves as a reminder of the need to continue to be vigilant as to the risks to children from within their own families.

The contents of the toolkit have been organised in to five sections:

Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff

Published in January 2019, the Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff intercollegiate document provides a clear framework which identifies the safeguarding competencies for all staff, clinical and non-clinical, who work in any healthcare setting.

The safeguarding intercollegiate documents provide a robust framework to ensure that primary care staff are equipped for their safeguarding duties. The RCGP has produced a RCGP supplementary guide to safeguarding training requirements for all primary care staff.

 

Here’s an article  on child dental health which was recently published in the Childcare Professional’ magazine which is aimed at Childminders – How to prevent tooth decay.

The article includes information from the RCS and PHE and  highlights the recent study undertaken with Action for Children on tooth brushing and provides guidance to the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) members on how to encourage good oral health in their settings.

There is also a feature on the website linking to further tools and guidance. The magazine reaches around 30,000 practitioners – and possibly more as the magazine may be shared among co-childminders and assistants.

 

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) announces the publication of new Parent Tips aimed at helping parents and carers reduce the risk of dogs harming babies and children.

Having a dog in the family has many benefits – from making children very happy and confident, through to teaching them about responsibility and learning how to respect living things. We often see dogs as being “part of the family”, but we do need to remember that dogs are a different species.  This guide provides advice to parents looking forward to welcoming a new baby into the home, as well as those who already have children and a dog in the household. This advice should be shared with friends, neighbours, carers and relatives.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director, iHV, said:

“Far too often we hear tragic news stories of a baby or young child being attacked by the family pet.  As a parent, it’s important you take steps to ensure your child and your dog can live happily together – making sure your young child knows how to behave around your dog will help to keep them safe. There is a lot that parents can do to reduce the risk of dogs harming babies and children – and our new Parent Tips provides this advice for parents and carers.”

From the dog’s point of view, children behave very differently to adults – they are unpredictable and make a lot of noise. In addition, children tend to interact with dogs in the same way as they do with their friends – they hug them, cuddle them and tell them off. Children also use very close facial contact which is very different to dog social behaviour and many dogs can find it threatening.  It is for these reasons that children are more likely to be bitten than any other population group. Research also shows that people are far more likely to be bitten by a dog owned by their own family than an unfamiliar dog. This means that children are in the highest risk group for being bitten by their own family dog.

Dr Adams continued:

“Dogs are an intrinsic part of many families’ lives so it’s important that parents take appropriate steps to ensure that their children and dogs can live together safely and happily.  Please share our tips with friends and family.”

Parent Tips - Keeping babies and children safe around dogs in the home

Parent Tips – Keeping babies and children safe around dogs in the home

Two new reports to support commissioners in improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

These reports describe the importance of mental health and wellbeing among children and young people and the case for investment in mental health. They also summarise the evidence of what works to improve mental health among children and young people in order to inform local transformation of services.

Reports to support commissioners in improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

These reports describe the importance of mental health and wellbeing among children and young people and the case for investment in mental health. They also summarise the evidence of what works to improve mental health among children and young people in order to inform local transformation of services.