The mental health of babies and young children is important for their wellbeing now, and critical for their future health and development. These earliest years are a time of rapid development and offer the best chance to lay strong foundations for good mental health. Many people, however, do not really know what being mentally healthy means, especially for babies and young children.

The iHV is delighted to support today’s launch of UNICEF UK and The University of Cambridge Play in Education, Development & Learning (PEDAL) Centre’s new resource ‘Understanding and supporting mental health in infancy and early childhood -a toolkit to support local action in the UK’ that aims to promote a shared understanding of what is meant by mental health in the early years.

Hilda Beauchamp, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Lead at iHV, said:

“We have been privileged to collaborate with UNICEF UK and PEDAL to produce this important toolkit, highlighting what can be done to support babies’ and young children’s mental health and wellbeing. Health visitors have a vital role to play in ensuring that all babies grow up being mentally healthy: able to understand and manage their emotions, experience nurturing relationships and be able to explore, play and learn.

“This toolkit will help to ensure a more effective whole system approach for health visitors to work alongside their multi-agency colleagues in developing a shared understanding of babies’ and young children’s mental health and see the contributions they can make. Supporting multi-sector working, along with addressing inequalities that affect families, can help to give babies and young children the best start in life.”

The toolkit aims to:

  • Help partners from different services and professions to develop a deeper, shared understanding of mental health in infancy and early childhood, and the factors that influence it
  • Support service leaders, commissioners and other decision makers and policy teams to develop whole-system responses to ensure babies and young children are mentally healthy now and are supported to develop the skills they need to continue to be mentally healthy throughout their lives
  • Provide resources, signposting, and conversation guides to support constructive local discussions, decisions and action about the needs of babies and young children in their area, and what more might be done to respond to these needs (including through strategy development across mental health, maternity, early years or Family Hubs and Start for Life).

The iHV is delighted to share the updated RCGP Child Safeguarding Toolkit.

Authored by safeguarding experts including Catherine Powell, Child Safeguarding Consultant, Institute of Health Visiting,  the updated Child Safeguarding Toolkit provides busy practitioners with an easily navigable resource to ensure excellence in safeguarding practice in Primary Care.

The purpose of the RCGP Child Safeguarding Toolkit is to support and enable best practice in safeguarding and child protection. This includes setting out the roles and responsibilities of GPs and their staff, in the recognition and referral of situations that indicate that a child (including an unborn child) may be at risk of significant harm.

The toolkit has been designed with the needs of the busy frontline practitioner, and useful links to updates on policy and practice for those who have a more senior leadership role.

Successful practice in safeguarding and child protection can be incredibly rewarding. However, the challenging nature of this topic, together with the emotional toil, should be acknowledged. Working with others is key to achieving best outcomes.

Building on previous versions, and designed to complement the Adult Safeguarding Toolkit launched in 2017, this latest edition highlights contemporary risks to children and young people including increasing awareness of risks to children from outside the home such as child sexual exploitation, trafficking, domestic abuse within teenage relationships, radicalisation and online abuse (these forms of abuse are referred to as ‘contextual safeguarding’ (Working Together, 2018). It also serves as a reminder of the need to continue to be vigilant as to the risks to children from within their own families.

The contents of the toolkit have been organised in to five sections:

Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff

Published in January 2019, the Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff intercollegiate document provides a clear framework which identifies the safeguarding competencies for all staff, clinical and non-clinical, who work in any healthcare setting.

The safeguarding intercollegiate documents provide a robust framework to ensure that primary care staff are equipped for their safeguarding duties. The RCGP has produced a RCGP supplementary guide to safeguarding training requirements for all primary care staff.


PHE has updated the Delivering Better Oral Health toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help clinical dental teams support patients in making choices to improve and maintain their dental and general health.

The information has been revised to reflect new healthy eating advice based on the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s evidence review and the Chief Medical Officer for England’s new guidelines on lower risk drinking.  The alcohol section is supported by a new online training module for the knowledge and skills to deliver brief advice on alcohol consumption.

There are also new factsheets aimed at patients, summarising the key actions for oral health improvement in adults and children.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE commented:

“Health visitors should be aware of, utilise and share this wonderful new toolkit to improve dental health.”

We are delighted to announce that we have revamped the Outcomes and Evaluation Toolkit (published in September 2016) – bringing together all the sections of the toolkit into one, easy to use document.

The Outcomes and Evaluation Toolkit supports the measurement of outcomes in health visiting – to help health visitor service leads to develop outcome measures for their local health visiting service.

Please note that this Outcomes and Evalutation Toolkit is 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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The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) is delighted to announce the publication of a toolkit during #HVweek to support the measurement of outcomes in health visiting – it aims to support health visitor service leads in developing outcome measures for their local health visiting service.

There is a growing body of evidence which demonstrates that health visitors can have a positive outcome on health improvement (Cowley et al, 2013).

Health visitors are keen to show the impact of their work in early intervention, health promotion, and the prevention of ill health in children and families.  But how can this impact be measured?  What outcomes are needed?

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE., Executive Director, iHV, said:

“Since the completion of the Department of Health’s Health Visitor implementation plan ‘A Call to Action’ to transform health visiting services, there has been an increased emphasis on the need to measure the impact and effectiveness of the transformed health visiting services in England.”

Health visiting services collect data for key performance indicators as described in the National Health Visiting Core Service Specification (NHS England, 2014). These indicators mainly focus on the number of core contacts achieved, but this does not accurately reflect the depth and breadth of health visiting activity, nor does it describe the outcomes for children and families.

Dr Adams continued:

“There is now renewed pressure to demonstrate outcomes of health visiting services with the recent transfer from NHS to Local Authority Commissioning.  Local commissioners are developing their understanding of the health visitor role and how the service contributes to local and national public health outcomes, the local early years strategy and broader social, economic and fiscal outcomes.  Health visitors must therefore develop and gather information which is relevant to their practice and which captures the impact of health visiting interventions on health outcomes.”

This new toolkit, written by Ruth Hudson, Professional Officer, iHV, is broken down into six sections to explore both outcomes and evaluation in health visiting. The Practical Guide forms the introduction and background, followed by 5 sections for readers who may prefer to concentrate on a specific topic or aspect of evaluation:

  • Outcomes and Evaluation in Health Visiting: A Practical Guide
    1. Section 1: Research and Outcomes for Children and Families
    2. Section 2: Evaluation Guides and Models for use in practice
    3. Section 3: National Outcomes Frameworks, Tools and Resources
    4. Section 4: Outcomes in Health Visiting Practice
    5. Section 5: Presenting Information on Outcomes: Using Case Studies and Scale Measures in Practice

A ‘one-stop’ hub of resources to support GPs to deliver the best possible care to patients with perinatal mental health conditions has been launched by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

This toolkit is a set of relevant tools to assist members of the primary care team to deliver the highest quality care to women with mental health problems in the perinatal period. As well as offering a diverse collection of resources, the Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit gives details of additional learning for individual practitioners.

RCGP has launched the free-access perinatal mental health toolkit for family doctors and other healthcare professionals, as a go-to collation of resources that could support them to deliver the care their patients with perinatal mental health need.

There is a variety of resources to offer patients from information leaflets, links to supporting charities and social media peer support groups amongst many others. Health professionals may face additional challenges in seeking help for perinatal mental health problems and there a specific section of the Toolkit to address this need.

This resource is a tool developed by the RCGP designed to make the NICE guidelines on antenatal and postnatal mental health more accessible and focused for GPs. It is presented in the form of ten questions to help GPs identify the crucial, but often hidden, signs of perinatal mental health issues in their patients as early as possible to enable them to discuss support and treatment with the woman.

The tool is based on and designed to be used alongside NICE guidelines, and has been approved by NICE. It also aims to reduce variation in the care of women with perinatal mental health problems, many of whom face a ‘postcode lottery’ in trying to access specialist referral and follow-up services.

PHE and Unicef UK are delighted to announce the launch of “Commissioning Infant Feeding Services: A toolkit for Local Authorities”.

This publication provides guidance to help local commissioners protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The document is jointly branded by Public Health England and Unicef UK and includes endorsements from:

  • Sally Davis, Chief Medical Officer
  • Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse
  • Kevin Fenton, Director, Public Health England

The document has several parts:

  • Summary: highlights key messages and themes.
  • Part 1, Infographics: these colourful, easy to use slides give a concise and accessible overview.  Please feel free to use these in your own presentations.
  • Part 2, Toolkit: details what success would look like for a commissioner working within their local authority to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.
  • Part 3, Data: sets out guidance on effective data collection, monitoring and reporting.

Are you a health visiting lead? Do you want to understand the experiences of your service users to help improve services and provide valuable feedback to your board, staff, commissioners, patients and the public?

NHS England commissioned Picker Institute Europe to develop a Health Visitor Service User Experience Survey and toolkit which has now been published.

The free toolkit is available to all providers of health visiting services in England. The toolkit has been provided by NHS England in collaboration with Picker Institute Europe. To have free access to the toolkit, each service provider will need to complete a licence agreement with Picker Institute Europe.

The toolkit comprises the following comprehensive guides and documents to allow providers of health visiting services to implement the survey themselves:

  • Survey Implementation Guide; Sample Compilation Guide
  • Mailing Letters; Questionnaire
  • Data Capture Instructions; Data Entry Template
  • Data Analysis & Interpretation Guide

These resources are free of charge to licence for Health Visitor service providers. To access these resources you will need to register your details to complete a licence agreement