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.