The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to announce that its Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Champions Programme has been shortlisted for the Workforce Initiative of the Year at the HSJ Awards 2021, recognising their outstanding contribution to healthcare – in what has been an exceptional and challenging period across the sector.

HSJ Awards 2021 Finalist banner

Despite the demanding circumstances of the past 18 months, over 1000 entries have been received for this year’s HSJ Awards. The volume and standards of applications has been a true testament to those health and social care staff, who continue to push outstanding work and transformational projects across the sector.

Melita Walker, Head of the Mental Health Department at The Institute of Health Visiting, commented:

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the HSJ Workforce Initiative of the Year. With such stiff competition and eminent judges, it is a massive honour for the Institute to be shortlisted. This significant recognition really does reflect the collaborative efforts and dedication of #TeamiHV and the iHV PIMH Champions.

“The iHV PIMH Champions programme has evolved over several years (alongside the evidence base, changing policy and evolving national standards) and is unique in its capacity to reach large audiences through our highly developed leadership-cascade model which builds in sustainability for commissioners. The programme and its quality assurance measures have been co-designed, co-developed and co-delivered alongside experts by experience as well as perinatal mental health experts from the professions we commonly train, i.e. health visitors, midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners and psychiatrists and other mental health workers.”

The judging panel comprised a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community, including: Sir Bruce Keogh (Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT); Marie Gabriel CBE (Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory); and former HSJ Trust of the Year winners Ann Marr OBE (Chief Executive, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust) and Richard Mitchell (Chief Executive, Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT).

Following the intense and in-depth judging process the iHV was shortlisted, ahead of the official awards ceremony to be held later this year (18 November). Standing out amongst tough competition from hundreds of other exemplary applicants, the iHV Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Champions Programme was selected based on ambition, visionary spirit and the demonstrable positive impact that the project has had for professionals and families.

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated significant changes to the way in which healthcare practitioners were able to access training and professional development. The Institute of Health Visiting was well-positioned and responsive in adapting their highly renowned Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) Champions’ Programmes to meet the requirements of the virtual world. In doing so, they enabled ongoing access to standardised, high-quality national training and support, ensuring that frontline PIMH practitioners were sufficiently equipped and skilled to meet the increasing needs of families and improve outcomes for those affected by, or at risk of, perinatal and infant mental health problems.

HSJ editor Alistair McLellan, commented:

“On behalf of all my colleagues, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Institute of Health Visiting on being nominated in the category of Workforce Initiative of the Year in this year’s HSJ Awards. The applications we receive always present our panel of judges with a very difficult task as the standard is unfailingly high and the breadth of innovation and passion for patient care is always so inspiring.

“This year, we really have been overwhelmed with the level of entries, particularly when set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the huge challenges faced by our health and social care workforce.

“We are therefore looking forward to welcoming all our finalists to the live ceremony in November and joining us in celebrating their incredible achievements and commitment to excellence.”

The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution, London, on 18 November 2021.