The iHV is delighted to have been invited as a panel guest to attend today’s London Assembly Health Committee which is currently investigating healthy early years in London. Dr Robert Nettleton, iHV’s Education Advisor, attended to represent the impact and role of health visiting in the early years.
The Health Committee reviews health and wellbeing across London, with a particular focus on public health issues and reviewing progress of the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy.
In the draft Health Inequalities Strategy, the Mayor outlines two key aims around healthy early years:
- The first is for London’s babies to have the best start to life. This ranges from supporting expectant parents through pregnancy, breastfeeding and vaccinations and their general understanding of child development.
- The Mayor’s second aim is for early years settings and schools to support children and young people’s health and wellbeing. To support this aim, the Mayor is piloting a new Healthy Early Years Awards programme, which is an extension of the Mayors Healthy Schools programme.
Within London there are variations in breastfeeding rates. Women from black ethnic backgrounds and mothers born outside of the UK are significantly more likely to breastfeed despite many living in deprived circumstances.
The London Assembly Health Committee is investigating healthy early years and how we can give children in London the healthiest start to life.
- Breastfeeding rates are lower in London than England as a whole
- 9 in 10 children aged 2-4 years do not meet recommended levels of physical activity
- 105 per 10,000 0-4 year olds per year were admitted to hospital with unintentional or deliberate injuries 
- London has a slightly higher average of low birthweight than England as a whole (7.1 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively).
- Children in London are least likely to receive the required number of health visits. Recent surveys have highlighted increased workloads for public health nurses.
The following guests attended the Health Committee to answer questions:
- Dr Robert Nettleton, Education Advisor, Institute of Health Visiting
- Emily Arkell, Head of Health Policy, RCPCH
- George Hosking OBE, Founder, CEO and Research Co-ordinator, Wave Trust
- Geraldine Butler, Locality Manager West Haringey Health Visiting Service, Hornsey Central Health Central
- Kim Roberts, Chief Executive, HENRY
- Shabira Papain, Deputy CEO, Best Beginnings
The meeting took place today, Thursday 11 January, in the Chamber at City Hall – details here https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=6239