Department Health newsletter – Childhood obesity: latest update including:

  • New funding to improve school facilities and encourage healthier lifestyles
  • Health Minister Nicola Blackwood outlines how the food industry can do more to reduce sugar in products
  • How schools, local authorities and charities are reducing childhood obesity
  • New catering guidance

The Department of Health (DH) is asking all health visiting teams to use ASQ:SE-2™ alongside ASQ-3™ as part of two year reviews from 1 October 2016 as set out in the Public Health England 0-19 service specification.

DH funded a British English adaptation of the 2nd edition of ASQ:SE-2™  and the distribution of one copy on CD-ROM to each health visiting provider in England in April 2016.

An e-learning tool has been developed by Health Education England, the Department of Health, e-Learning for Healthcare  and the University of Hertfordshire which will prepare health professionals for the introduction of ASQ:SE-2™  and is now available.

For further information around ASQ:SE-2™ , please contact DH at [email protected]

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce new nursing degree apprenticeship, opening up a career in nursing to more people.

The first apprentice nurses could be working on wards from September, and once established, up to 1,000 apprentice nurses could join the NHS each year.

Aspiring nurses will join the apprenticeship at different stages, depending on their qualifications and experience, and stay in work whilst learning. By offering staff who want to progress more flexibility, regardless of whether they are health care support workers or already working towards higher level qualifications, employers will be able to open up a career in nursing to people from all backgrounds.

The new nursing associate role will work alongside healthcare support workers to deliver hands on care, freeing up existing nurses so they can spend more time using their more specialist training to focus on clinical duties and take more of a lead in decisions round a patient’s care. Interest in the role has already seen Health Education England expand the number of training places on the pilot scheme increase from 1,000 to 2,000.

People who complete the nursing associate apprenticeship will be able to count that training towards a nursing degree.

The iHV supports the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s (MMHA’s) response to yesterday’s publication of the Department of Health report ‘Safer Maternity Care: Next steps towards the national maternity ambition’.

MMHA highlights the mention of perinatal mental health in the report (on page 17) – but would really like to push for mums’ mental health to be embedded across all of the actions coming out of the report. Maternity safety is not just physical health: unless women’s mental health is looked after, their and their babies’ lives could also be at risk.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director iHV said:

“iHV supports the push by MMHA to keep maternal mental health at the forefront of the government’s drive to improve maternity care.  We welcome the implementation of this plan, including maternal mental health, and call on the government to ensure that specialist mental health support is available in every maternity /health visiting service to provide support to every mother and her family who require this service.”

Dr Alain Gregoire, Chair of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, commented:

“We welcome the announcement by the Secretary of State of a Safer Maternity Care action plan and the inclusion of improvements in perinatal mental health care in this. Mental illnesses are the most common serious health complications of pregnancy and the postnatal period, and a major cause of maternal death. There has been no sign of improvement in the effects of these illnesses on mothers and their babies in the past decades, despite significant improvements in physical health outcomes.”


The ASQ:SE-2™ e-learning tool developed by Health Education England, the Department of Health, e-Learning for Healthcare  and the University of Hertfordshire is now available.

The ASQ:SE-2™ is designed to assess the social and emotional development of children whereas the ASQ-3™ is focused on physical, communications and cognitive development.

The e-learning tool will help prepare health professionals for the introduction of ASQ:SE-2™ as part of two year reviews from October 2016.

It is designed for any health professional (e.g. health visitor, community nursery nurse, community staff nurse) who is likely to be using the ASQ:SE-2™ as part of the 2 year review.

For further information on ASQ:SE-2™, please contact DH at [email protected]

Department of Health (DH) infographic explaining the physical activity required to achieve general health benefits from birth to age 5.


DH Physical activity infographic 0-5

DH Physical activity infographic 0-5

The Department of Health (DH) is seeking views on the proposed changes to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s midwifery regulation and fitness to practise processes.

The government has proposed changes to current the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s governing legislation through changes to the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001.

These proposed changes will:

  • remove statutory midwifery supervision provisions, which will result in a clear separation of the roles and purpose of the supervision and regulation of midwives
  • remove the statutory Midwifery Committee from the NMC’s governance structures.
  • make improvements to the NMC’s fitness to practise processes to enable further improvements and deal with cases in a more appropriate manner

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on

Dr Cheryll Adams, executive director of the iHV, said:

These proposed changes will have an impact on those health visitors who were direct entry midwives – for the better.  It will mean that they don’t have to go through a second tier of fitness to practise.


The Department of Health is encouraging nurses and midwives to have their say on how to cut out unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy, giving them more time to concentrate on caring.

The ‘Tell Us How: Nursing and Midwifery’ site provides an opportunity for frontline carers to put forward ideas on reducing wasted time and effort to concentrate on improving patient care.

The website allows staff to post ideas, vote for their favourite idea and comment on the answers given by colleagues.