iHV attends launch of the Labour Party’s Health Mission to build an NHS fit for the future and welcomes pledge to train 5,000 more health visitors.

Alison Morton, the Institute of Health Visiting’s CEO, attended the launch of the Labour party’s Health Mission in Essex today. The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, set out his party’s plans to ‘make the NHS fit for the future’ by ‘fixing the fundamentals and renewing its purpose’, including a welcome pledge to train 5,000 more health visitors.

Responding to this announcement on behalf of the iHV, Alison Morton said:

“The Labour Party’s commitment to a long-term plan to reduce preventable illness and cut health inequalities is very welcome and urgently needed. Getting it right at the start of life will be a critical first step in building strong foundations for health that can last a lifetime.

“This reform is long overdue, as hundreds of thousands of babies and young children are currently not getting the support that they need. We have a poor state of child health across our nation compared to most other similar nations and too many lives are being unnecessarily harmed or cut short. It doesn’t have to be this way, change is possible.

“We have campaigned, alongside hundreds of other leading organisations and charities working with families, for investment in health visiting services which provide a vital safety-net for all families. The Labour Party’s commitment to train 5,000 more health visitors is essential to rebuild the service after eight years of cuts that have led to a 40% reduction in the number of health visitors in England.

“This investment will ensure that health visitors are able to meet the scale of the challenge and work with families to prevent, identify and treat problems before they reach crisis point. Investing in our children’s health is not only the right thing to do, it also makes sound economic sense.

“We look forward to working with the Labour party on next steps and call on all political parties to sign up to a cross-party long-term plan to improve child health and reduce inequalities – our children’s health is too important to be treated as a Cinderella policy and the political football that it has become in recent years.”

Alongside training 5,000 more health visitors, the Labour government announced that they would increase the NHS workforce by training 7,500 new doctors and 10,000 nurses each year. They also pledged to bring down ambulance response times, cut cardiovascular disease deaths by a quarter, and support women with mental health problems in pregnancy and the postnatal period, as well as during the menopause and older age. In terms of tackling the wider determinants of health, alongside their plans to build a fairer society, the party would ban junk food ads for children and strengthen physical activity in the school curriculum, following a decade where childhood obesity has risen and participation in competitive sport has fallen.


At today’s Labour Party conference, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves MP, set out the opposition’s plans to build strong public services as the foundations for a strong society. Health visitors in England will be particularly encouraged to hear that this included a commitment to train 5,000 more health visitors to address the current workforce shortages.

Alison Morton, iHV Executive Director, welcomed today’s announcement:

“We are delighted by today’s commitment by the Labour Party to rebuild the health visiting service by training 5,000 new health visitors. Years of underinvestment in health visiting and workforce cuts have been a costly mistake, putting people at risk of poorer health and storing up problems for the future. Each year, billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being wasted on soaring costs of late intervention, and families are facing the brunt of this with a postcode lottery of health visiting support. Today’s welcomed announcement is good news for babies, children and families, and the health visiting workforce that supports them.

“Currently, children growing up in England experience a poor state of child health when compared to comparable nations, and too many vulnerable children are invisible to services and not getting the support that they need. This needs to change. We have more evidence than any other generation that inequalities start early in life, the effects are cumulative and can last a lifetime if not addressed. The challenges of public health need to be taken seriously and it is time to change the narrative – spending on public health, and the health visiting service, should not be seen as a cost, but rather a smart investment in our children’s future and the future of our society. We look forward to working with the UK Labour Party on next steps.”

Listen to the announcement on the clip below – source BBC News.