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The Nursing and Midwifery Council has announced it is ready to approve its new standards of proficiency for future specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN) – including standards for health visiting, community nursing specialist practice qualifications (SPQs) and associated programme standards. Alongside representatives from all professional bodies, the iHV has worked closely with the NMC over the last two and a half years as part of their collaborative programme of work to develop the new post-registration standards.

The NMC states that:

“The new standards are intended to reflect the changing landscape and ambition for the care and treatment of people in the community. The new standards are an opportunity for more professionals to develop a greater depth of knowledge and broader skills that really reflect the complexity, responsibility and diversity of modern community nursing and public health nursing practice”.

The iHV also contributed to the consultation of the draft standards which ran from April to August 2021 and received 2,363 responses – including from nurses, health visitors, members of the public and organisations. The NMC highlighted that the responses were ‘predominantly positive’ with a ‘small number of suggested improvements’ required.

The NMC has refined the SCPHN standards and has made a prescribing qualification optional, as well as strengthening aspects around mental health, wellbeing, leading services, managing risk, safeguarding, infant nutrition, and cultural competence.

The final draft standards have now been agreed and will be taken before the NMC’s governing council for approval on 26 May. The papers ahead of the meeting of the Council on 26 May can be found here.

The finalised standards are expected to be published in the next few weeks. The NMC is also seeking approval from Council to consult on proposed changes to our pre-registration education programme standards. These standards ensure that nursing and midwifery programmes support students to learn and achieve the knowledge and skills that they’ll need to become registered professionals, and to deliver safe, effective and kind care.

Professor Geraldine Walters, Executive Director of professional practice at the NMC, said:

“These new co-produced post-registration standards will give professionals the additional knowledge, skills, and aptitude they need to provide specialist support and care to people in their homes and in the community. Council approval of the standards would mark a significant milestone toward more modern, effective care for people in community settings and improved public health for our wider communities.”

iHV publishes its response to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) online consultation on Draft standards for post-registration nursing including Specialist Community Public Health Nursing – health visiting.

We welcome the development of proficiencies specific to the three SCPHN fields of health visiting, school nursing and occupational health nursing. We believe that this is an important strengthening of the regulatory status of health visiting so that the public can have assurances of what can be expected of a SCPHN health visitor. We also set out some additional recommendations for enhancements of the draft proficiencies themselves.

We believe that the proposed new standards provide a timely opportunity to re-envision health visiting and Specialist Community Public Health Nursing. We are committed to build on the strength of evidence in support of the vital contribution SCPHN health visitors make to improving the health and life chances of people across the life-course from its earliest days in their families, communities where they live, learn and work at a time of widening inequalities and persistent as well as new public health challenges.

We strongly encourage all health visitors and others with an interest in child and family public health to take the opportunity to make their own responses to the NMC consultation and we hope that, by publishing our response, this will assist health visitors and others to consider their own responses to the consultation. The closing date for responses to the consultation is 2 August 2021.

Please also see our Voices Blog on ‘Future Health Visiting – summarising the key issues.








Last week the NMC launched its consultation on draft standards for community and specialist community public health nursing (SCPHN). These set the expectations of future health visitors along with school nurses and occupational health nursing. The new NMC standards offer the opportunity to build on the advances in the evidence base for universal child and family health visiting for the pressing public health challenges of our times. It is vitally important that the views of health visitors are heard and shape these new standards.

The NMC is providing opportunities to be informed of the issues, to ask questions and to take part in the consultation. We encourage all health visitors to take up these opportunities.

iHV members can also shape the iHV’s response by joining us at our forthcoming iHV networking events for members which will focus on the NMC consultation:

iHV Student Networking Event – Future health visiting: Next steps for me and the profession

21 May 2021 (for student health visitor iHV members only) 

In our first “iHV Student Networking Event” on 21 May, we will explore the crucial first year and preceptorship; and we will share views on the draft NMC standards for the Future SCPHN-health visiting.

Your experiences matter and  will help us to formulate our response to the NMC’s consultation on the proposed standards. We have invited a short input from the NMC as well as from a practitioner with recent experience of preceptorship.

This webinar is for iHV Student Members ONLY. To book on, you will need your iHV membership number to access the tickets.

Practice Education Networking Event – Future health visiting: Next steps for the profession

16 June 2021 (open to all iHV members)

In our second “Practice Education Networking Event” on 16 June, we extend a wide invitation to all our iHV members who have an interest in education and standards for future health visitors. This too will help us to formulate our response to the NMC’s consultation on the proposed standards and we have invited a short input from the NMC as well as from a current Lead Practice Teacher / Assessor – health visitor.

This webinar is for iHV Members ONLY. To book on, you will need your iHV membership number to access the tickets.

Where can I find more information on the consultation?

We encourage all health visitors (whether you are an iHV member or not) to take the time to read the NMC consultation documents.

The new standards are intended to equip future health visitors to meet the public health needs of the future.

The four principles of health visiting formulated in 1977, and later included in current standards of proficiency for SCPHN have stood the test of time. Now is the time to consider whether the draft standards:

  • Provide a compelling vision for the future of health visiting across the four nations of the UK;
  • Proposed six ‘spheres of influence’ are pitched at the right level and are relevant to emerging health needs and the evidence base for practice;
  • ‘Field-specific’ proficiencies for health visiting capture the distinctive knowledge, skills and attributes required for future health visitors;
  • Will command the support of the profession; and
  • Will help service users and employers to know what can be expected of the SCPHN health visitor.


Skills for Health has now published the proposed Apprenticeship Standard for SCPHN in England for wide consultation.

Apprenticeships are employer-led work-based learning programmes in a vocational or professional occupational area. Apprenticeships are approved routes through work-based learning and development that lead to a great variety of occupational job roles at a wide range of levels. They are funded by the Apprenticeship Levy paid by employers. Employers can then use the Levy to pay for staff to undertake a programme of learning and development covering fees and an element of salary costs. For education in the health professions, this replaces current funding mechanisms such as bursaries or salary replacement and the payment of fees administered and overseen by Health Education England.

In order for this scheme to put into operation, each Apprenticeship must have an approved Apprenticeship Standard. This specifies a number of high level ‘Core Duties’ broken down into Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs). For the SCPHN, this is further broken down into ‘Option 1’: Health Visitor and School Nurse; and ‘Option 2’: Occupational Health Nurse.

Core duties and KSBs are intended to be equally applicable to all SCPHNs, while subsequent duties and KSBs are specific to Option 1 (HV & SN) or Option 2 (OHN).

Apprenticeship Standards are developed to a prescribed format and method overseen by the Institute for Apprenticeships. Each Standard is developed by an employer-led Trailblazer Group.

The Institute of Health Visiting has been actively involved as a member of this Trailblazer group. The iHV has been well-placed to contribute as an independent academic professional body that has also led on the development of a Recommended National Curriculum for Health Visiting and School Nursing over the last two years with all significant stakeholders (this is due for publication later this year). In the last months, these developments have proceeded in parallel and the iHV-led project has provided an evidence and consensus-based source of knowledge to inform our contribution to the Apprenticeship Standard.

Any kind of curriculum or set of Standards reflects a diversity of values, perspectives and priorities as well as the constraints of what can be achieved. It is a collective endeavour.  The proposed Standard is now published for wider consultation.

Please take the opportunity to review the Standard and complete the on-line consultation form by 15th October 2018.

Responses to the consultation can be undertaken either as an individual or as an organisation. The iHV will make its own response to the consultation – we are happy to receive comments from iHV members that you would like us to take into account.

It is worth remembering the following points:

  • the Apprenticeship Standard applies only to England where the Apprenticeship funding mechanism is being rolled out. It does not apply to the rest of the UK.
  • The knowledge, skills and attributes specified will all be assessed by an End Point Assessment (EPO) which is a requirement of the implementation of apprenticeships. (The End Point Assessment is presently under development by the Trailblazer Group).
  • The Apprenticeship Standard does not replace NMC Standards of Proficiency or the requirements of the Higher Education Institution that provides SCPHN programmes in partnership with the employer / placement provider.
  • Once the Standard is approved (projected to be early 2019) the Apprenticeship Levy will be the only source of funding for SCPHN programmes in England. Health Education England (HEE) has designed a toolkit to help employers navigate their way through the apprenticeship procurement process.

If you have any queries or comments you would like to make to the Institute of Health Visiting on the consultation on the Apprenticeship Standard please email [email protected]

The Queen’s Nursing Institute has announced the creation of a new prize for student Health Visitors, named in memory of Dora Roylance, a former Queen’s Nurse and Health Visitor.

Dora Roylance passed away in 2016 at the age of 100 and left a legacy to the QNI that enabled them to create this prize in her name. Dora became a Queen’s Nurse in 1939 and become a Health Visitor six years later, thanks to a QNI training bursary. She went on to work as a nurse and a Health Visitor for the rest of her career.

The new prize is offered for outstanding students who have completed the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing () Health Visitor programme. The prize is available at every university in England, Wales or Northern Ireland where the programme is offered.

The health visitor programme leaders at each university may nominate one student to receive the prize each year.