The Institute welcomes the pledge made in the Labour Party Manifesto to increase the number of health visitors and school nurses by 4800 and hopes that the other parties’ manifestos will contain similar commitments.

Children in the UK have some of the worst outcomes when compared to the rest of Europe and similar countries across the world.  Its time for all political parties to take this seriously.  The Institute has published “Health Visiting in England: A Vision for the future” which sets out how a robust health visiting service can provide an important part of the solution for children and also help the delivery of many of the usual government targets.

Addressing our breastfeeding conference yesterday (19 April), Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, pledged to introduce an additional mandated health visit at 3-4 months, as part of Labour’s commitment to making Britain’s children the healthiest in the world.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health addressing the breastfeeding conference

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, addressing the breastfeeding conference

Labour will commit an additional £25 million for health visiting to fund the pledge, paid for from Labour’s costed National Child Health Fund and forms part of Labour’s effort to tackle health inequalities and improve early intervention services.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Executive Director iHV, said:

“The iHV called for the mandation of a 3-4 month check in its evidence to the Health Visiting Service Mandation Review  in March 2017. Unfortunately, this wasn’t supported by the government but it is very encouraging to now have the support for this contact from the Shadow Health Secretary.

“The 3-4 month check is a critical developmental milestone when many families may require additional support with a range of issues. What has been proved in England is that, without mandation, commissioning of health visiting services is largely a ‘race to the bottom’ by cash-struck local authorities. Only the mandated contacts are being commissioned universally but they are still not being delivered universally.”