As highlighted by Professor Helen Bedford in the February 2024 iHV podcast “Stemming the measles surge”, measles is on the rise in the UK, with 6/10 of the confirmed cases in the under 10s in England1.

At the same time, rates of MMR vaccination continue to decline2, this can be seen in the graph below, which highlights the recovery in MMR vaccination uptake, following the discrediting of the Wakefield study. However, from 2019/20 the rates start to fall again. In 2022/23, for the uptake of both doses, this had fallen to 84.5% in England, 89.5% in Wales, 90.2% in Scotland and 87.9% Northern Ireland, all of which are below the World Health Organization (WHO) target of 95%2.

There are a number of reasons why parents choose not to have their children fully vaccinated against MMR. In some cases, there is a lack of awareness of the potential severity of measles, mumps and rubella if contracted. For some parents, vaccination appointments are delivered in locations that are not easily accessible for them, with limited choice or flexibility around timings to make sure that they are available at convenient times for busy families. Some parents may also be anxious about the MMR vaccine and its side effects.

It is therefore important that all families have access to accurate information and opportunities to have their questions answered by trusted health professionals.

New Video

iHV and Barnardo’s have worked together to develop a film for families about the MMR vaccination to improve vaccine uptake. It features a real-life couple, Radhika and Manish, discussing their decision to get their son, Kabeer, vaccinated and their experience of the process. They share their initial challenges finding trusted information online, and the importance of vaccination, not only for their own child but for vulnerable family and friends at greater risk of serious complications linked to these diseases. They also strongly advise parents who may have doubts about the MMR vaccine to talk to a health professional, such as their health visitor or GP, who can provide trusted and evidence-based advice. A lovely moment in the video is hearing them describe how proud their son Kabeer was of his vaccination certificate, as he showed it to his friends at nursery.

The video is freely available on the link below, so please share with families and on your social media.

Health visitors’ vital role

When discussing the MMR vaccination with families, as well as encouraging them to have their child/ren vaccinated, it is important to remind them that:

  • Unvaccinated children are at high risk of contracting measles, mumps and rubella – these are all potentially serious diseases that can cause significant health problems.
  • Measles can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, blindness and seizures in children; and miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or a baby born with a low birthweight in those who are pregnant3.
  • Mumps can cause viral meningitis, although serious complications are thankfully rare4.
  • And while rubella is rare in pregnancy, it can cause miscarriage and serious problems in the baby including with their sight, hearing, heart or brain5.
  • There is a measles surge in the UK now – it is never too late to get their child vaccinated to protect them and the wider community.

Health visitors and the wider skill-mix team have a vital role to play in improving vaccine uptake. Please use every opportunity to support families to check their child’s vaccine status, answer any questions that they might have with accurate information, and connect families to their GP, or local vaccine initiatives in your area, to promote vaccine uptake.

RCPCH resources

The Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health has some great resources about measles which you can access here.

  1. UKHSA (2024) News story Latest measles statistics published. 
  2. Harker, R. (2024) Childhood Immunisation Statistic. House of Commons Library. Number 8556.
  3. NHS (2022) Measles.
  4. NHS (2021) Mumps.
  5. NHS (2022) Rubella (german measles).

We are delighted to share an exclusive recording of the ‘Lads Like Us’ keynote session at our recent Evidence-based Practice Conference: ‘Hope for the Future’, held in Manchester on 21 September.

‘Lads Like Us’ was set up by Mike Hurst and Danny Wolstencroft who both experienced trauma, including sexual abuse, as children. They now deliver highly acclaimed training all over the country to multi-agency professionals, considering the impact of childhood trauma on mental health, substance misuse, offending behaviour and parenting.

The recording includes a short presentation by Mike followed by a group discussion between Mike and his former health visitor, Louise (Lou) Hamer, who he credits as being the person who ‘turned his life around’. Lou is now the Designated nurse for safeguarding children at Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB).

In his presentation, Mike speaks about how he was unexpectedly reunited with Lou when she attended their ‘Million Pieces’ training session as a delegate. During the training Mike shared the difference that his health visitor had made to him – and then Lou realised that he was speaking about her! Mike describes how Lou’s professional curiosity looked beyond the challenges he faced to understand the ‘why’ in his story and this was the catalyst for change.

Lou shared how much it has meant to her to be reunited with Mike – it has helped her make sense of her career, to see the difference that she had made – although in Lou’s words, she was only doing her job.

We hope that by sharing this story, every health visitor will take encouragement from knowing that they will have their own examples of people like ‘Mike’, whose lives they have impacted for good. However, only a few will have the privilege to meet up again like Mike and Lou.

The session was very impactful and is captured in this comment from one of our delegates:

“The parent voice session with Mike Hurst and Louise Harmer will stay with me for a long time. I will always ‘ask why’ from now on and think of them”.

Watch Mike and Lou’s session below (Advisory: this video contains adult/offensive language):

All iHV conferences set out to encourage and inspire. We are in the final stages of preparation for our annual Leadership Conference: ‘Leading in a complex world’ on 6 December in London and hope you can join us.

We always like to ‘do something different’ within the programme at our conferences to help us connect with the purpose of our work and think ‘outside the box’. At the Leadership conference, we are delighted to be able to showcase a short excerpt from a theatre production developed by the Champions Project to address the invisibility of children living in homeless accommodation. No spoilers – but this powerful production is breaking new ground in driving policy change using innovative approaches. It really is a ‘must see’.

We have a fantastic line up of high-profile speakers including but not limited to:

  • Dame Ruth May DBE – Chief Nursing Officer for England: A Nursing Strategy for Health Equity
  • Dr Camilla Kingdon – President RCPCH: Child health challenges: what are the solutions in a cost-of-living crisis?
  • Professor Bola Oluwabi – Director Health Inequalities NHS England: Tackling inequalities in child health
  • Toni Estevez – Lived Life Solutions Expert, Shelter: Temporary housing, poverty and health.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity for professional development and also connect with practitioners from across the UK.

Book your early bird tickets today! Available until 31 October.

See the full programme here.

For more details on Lads Like Us please see: 



We are delighted that our film, “Health visiting in your community“, is being used to support the NHS Confederation’s Celebrating Community Services Week.

#CelebratingCommunityServices runs from 16 to 20 October and provides a concerted week-long special focus on community health services – explaining their role, the breadth of what they provide and the impact their services have. Taking place primarily on social media, it will bring services to life and celebrate their successes.

This year’s focus is on children and young people’s services – the breadth of what’s provided in the community, the difference it makes to people’s lives and why it is important to tackle backlogs of care in the community.

We are proud to share our film with NHS Confederation. It showcases the breadth of health visitors’ work and their critical role in supporting the health and wellbeing of thousands and thousands of families every week. So, it is particularly apt for this year’s #CelebratingCommunityServices.

The film captures the voices and stories of parents with a wide variety of different needs – they speak powerfully about the difference that the health visitor’s care and support made to their family when they needed it most. As health visitors often work alone, or in small teams in families’ homes, their work is often hidden and it’s easy to overlook how important it is.
Watch the short film below:

The Clinical Policy Unit at NHS England has provided links to resources around sepsis which would helpful for parents/and carers of children. So please do share with your parents and families.

The resources they recommend are:

For our members, we keep links to resources in our A-Z Library of resources. Please see  our Sepsis resource page 

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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