In March 2022, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a new comprehensive quality standard designed to improve the diagnosis and assessment of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The NICE guidance says midwives and other healthcare professionals (including health visitors) should give clear and consistent advice on avoiding alcohol throughout pregnancy, and explain the benefits of this, including preventing FASD and reducing the risks of low birth weight, preterm birth and the baby being small for gestational age.

The NICE quality standard highlights five key areas for improvement:

  • Pregnant women are given advice throughout pregnancy not to drink alcohol.
  • Pregnant women are asked about their alcohol use throughout their pregnancy, and this is recorded.
  • Children and young people with probable prenatal alcohol exposure and significant physical, developmental, or behavioural difficulties are referred for assessment.
  • Children and young people with confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure or all 3 facial features associated with prenatal alcohol exposure have a neurodevelopmental assessment if there are clinical concerns.
  • Children and young people with a diagnosis of FASD have a management plan to address their needs.

Updated GPPs

As a result, we have updated two Good Practice Points (GPPs) which now include links to the recently published NICE guidance:

Please note that GPPs are available to iHV members only.

If you’re not a member, please join us to get access to all of our resources.

The iHV is a self-funding charity – we can only be successful in our mission to strengthen health visiting practice if the health visiting profession and its supporters join us on our journey. We rely on our membership to develop new resources for our members.

So do join us now!

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NICE is currently updating its quality standard for postnatal care and has a vacancy for a health visitor to join the committee to develop this.

If you would like to help NICE with this work, please apply via the NICE website by 24 January.

The draft Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder quality standard consultation period is now open.

Please submit your comments on the form listed on the website and ensure all relevant fields are completed.

Responses must be submitted to [email protected] by 5pm on FRIDAY 3 APRIL 2020.

Following consultation the comments will be considered by the quality standards advisory committee (QSAC) and a record of this summarised in the QSAC meeting minutes. Registered stakeholders that submitted comments will be sent a link to the QSAC meeting minutes on the NICE website when the final quality standard publishes so that they may see how their comments were considered by the committee during the meeting.

Comments received from non-registered organisations and individuals are not summarised in the formal report presented to the committee but are included as an appendix. These comments are not made available on the NICE website. However, if they result in changes to the quality standard this is recorded in the committee meeting minutes.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a new quality standard on increasing the uptake of flu vaccinations among people who are eligible.

The quality standard discusses the following priority areas for improvement:

  1. To use a range or combination of methods, such as phone, face-to-face, or social media communications, to invite people in eligible groups for flu vaccination. Commissioners are encouraged to review their services to make sure systems are in place to accommodate these different methods.
  2. To include information within invitations to vaccination appointments about people’s individual situation or clinical risk. This will help eligible people understand the benefits of having a flu vaccine and why getting flu could be particularly risky for them.
  3. To ensure health records are timely, accurate and consistent in order to improve the accuracy of uptake figures and reduce unnecessary invitations to those who have already had flu vaccinations.
  4. To ensure employers enable health and social care staff who are in direct contact with vulnerable people to have flu vaccinations, including allowing flexibility during shifts.

Slow weight gain in early childhood, also known as faltering growth, may be associated with persisting problems with appetite and feeding, says NICE, in new guidance published today.

The NICE guideline aims to improve diagnosis, assessment and monitoring of children with faltering growth and to help GPs and health visitors support parents and carers to develop a management plan together.

The NICE guideline suggests faltering growth may be indicated by: a fall across 1 or more weight centile spaces if birth weight is below the 9th centile, a fall across 2 or more weight centile spaces if birthweight was between the 9th and 91st centiles, a fall across 3 or more weight centile spaces if birthweight was above the 91st centile or when current weight is below the 2nd centile for age whatever the birthweight.

According to data collected in the National Child Measurement Programme, in 2015, 1% of children aged 4-5 were underweight.

NICE has just launched an online learning tool – Children’s attachment – that uses interactive activities and case studies to support the implementation of NICE guidance.

The tool sets out how the guideline can be applied in a practical way to support children and young people who may have attachment difficulties, as well as their carers and families.

This e-learning tool has learning activities to help you to implement the guideline “Children’s attachment: attachment in children and young people who are adopted from care, in care or at high risk of going into care” and improve outcomes by focusing on some of the key implementation challenges identified. It is divided into four sections:

  • Understanding attachment
  • Causes of attachment difficulties
  • Recognising possible attachment difficulties
  • Supporting children and young people who may have attachment difficulties, their carers and families.

It will take around one hour to complete and you can undertake it in more than one session if required. The tool will resume where you left off.  You will need to login to the NICE system to access the e-learning.

This free online tool has been developed by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE).

It’s aimed at staff who have contact with children & young people who are adopted from care, in special guardianship, looked after by local authorities or on the edge of care.


Public registration  to observe the committee meeting for community engagement: improving health and wellbeing is now open.

Date: 10:00-16:00 Wednesday 18 May 2016

Location: Manchester

As a public observer, you will be able to listen to the business of the meeting, except where confidential information is being discussed, however, you will not be able to:

  • participate in committee discussions
  • ask questions, take part in voting or put your views to members of the committee

Registration for this meeting will close on Wednesday 4 May 2016. Please note they are not able to accept late requests to observe this meeting.

For further information about meetings in public please refer to the following document: Common questions and answers about standing advisory committee meetings in public.

Should you have any queries regarding observing this meeting, please contact the Meetings in Public Coordinator, Jon Littler – [email protected]

Health visitor needed for specialist membership of the vaccine uptake in the general population Quality Standard Advisory Committee

The NICE Quality Standards Team is looking for a health visitor for specialist membership of the vaccine uptake in the general population Quality Standard Advisory Committee (QSAC).

Attached is the role description and recruitment pack.

Confirmed meetings dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday 29 June 2016 – QSAC prioritisation meeting (half-day only, timings tbc)
  • Wednesday 26 October 2016  -QSAC post-consultation meeting (half-day only timings tbc):
  • Both meetings will be held in the NICE Manchester office.

Successful applicants will also need to review and comment on documents by email on the following dates:

  • 4–18 May 2016 – Comment on the areas for quality improvement during topic engagement
  • 13–20 July 2016 – Comment on draft quality standard prior to consultation
  • 8–15 November 2016 – Comment on quality standard prior to publication:

Any interested applicants will need to apply directly to NICE Quality Standards.
Send a CV, covering letter and complete the declarations of interest form by 5pm on Monday 28th March 2016 and return to [email protected]

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) welcomes the publication of the NICE domestic violence and abuse quality standard (QS116), published today.

At least 1.4 million women and 700,000 men aged between 16 and 59 experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in 2013/14 – 8.5% of women and 4.5% of men, according to the Office for National Statistics (2015) Crime Survey England and Wales, 2013–14.   Another survey conducted on behalf of the Home Office states that at least 29.9% of women and 17.0% of men in England and Wales have experienced domestic abuse at some time.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said:

“We know that domestic violence can be a significant factor in mental illness and that, even if perpetrated just against the mother, her children will suffer consequences too.  Having a quality standard to audit local services against will be very helpful.”

Dr Adams continued:

“I hope that investment into training for all those working with young families, when domestic violence and abuse might most easily be identified, will follow.  The iHV trained over 300 health visitors in domestic violence and abuse during 2014, with their training then being cascaded to colleagues. This was really welcomed by health visitors.”