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State of Health Visiting Survey Reports

State of Health Visiting, UK Survey Report: Millions supported as others miss out

The iHV annual survey captures valuable health visiting ‘frontline intelligence’ from across the UK. Our 10th annual survey was completed by 1,186 practitioners from across the UK between 2 October and 6 November 2023 with most respondents (90%) from England.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

State of Health Visiting Annual Survey - 2022

Our 9th annual survey was completed by 1,323 practitioners from across the UK between 26 September and 2 November 2022. Our survey findings paint a bleak picture with health visitors seeing first-hand the realities that families with babies and young children in the UK are facing. Health visitors are reporting epidemic levels of poverty, with more parents struggling under the weight of the cost-of-living crisis that is forcing them to turn to food banks to feed their children.  Alongside this, more parents are living with mental health problems, domestic abuse and adversity, that pose risks to the health and wellbeing of babies and young children.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

State of Health Visiting Annual Survey - 2021

Our 8th annual survey was completed by 1,291 practitioners from across the UK during October 2021. The findings present health visitors’ unique view into the lives of babies, young children and their families who are often hidden behind front doors and invisible to other services. The pandemic is not over – its impact on families has been significant and is ongoing. Health visitors reported soaring rates of domestic abuse, mental health problems, child behaviour problems, poverty, and child safeguarding.

The resounding headline message to policy makers is captured in this report’s sub-title which is a direct quote repeated hundreds of times throughout the survey responses, “We need more health visitors”.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

State of Health Visiting Annual Survey - 2020

Our 7th annual survey was completed by 1012 health visitors from across the UK during October and November 2020. This report presents the findings from 862 health visitors in practice in England and highlights the range of issues facing the profession, with significant unwarranted variation in the quality of services available to parents depending on where they live. The findings lay bare the damage that the pandemic has had on families, with the youngest and most vulnerable in our society suffering the most.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

State of Health Visiting Annual Survey - 2019

This latest publication from the Institute of Health Visiting presents the findings from an annual health visiting survey completed in November 2019. This latest survey was responded to by 1209 health visitors in the UK, of whom 1040 were working in practice roles. The annual nature of this survey, and the fact that many questions have been repeated in an identical format, year on year, enables a “temperature check” to see how we are doing and the identification of trends by comparisons over time.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

State of Health Visiting Annual Survey - 2018

For the last six years the Institute of Health Visiting has surveyed its members on the ‘State of Health Visiting’. Here we report some of the findings from our 2018 survey of over 1200 health visitors and compare them to what health visitors told us in 2015 when their commissioning arrangements were moved from the NHS to Local Authority.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

State of Health Visiting Annual Survey - 2017

For the last five years, the Institute of Health Visiting has surveyed its members on the ‘State of Health Visiting’. Here, we report some of the findings of our most recent UK-wide survey, which had a response rate of over 1400 health visitors.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

State of Health Visiting Survey 2016

In November 2016, the iHV surveyed its Associates, yielding over 1220 responses from front-line health visitors.

This is the fourth annual survey covering the high-water mark in 2015 of the last government’s Health Visitor Implementation Plan: A Call to Action (Department of Health, 2011) and what has happened since. That Plan aimed to grow the workforce in England by 4,200 to modernise the workforce; and to transform the service in readiness for local authority commissioning and integration with other local children’s services.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

iHV Project Reports

iHV A&E report: Understanding the rise in 0–4-year-old Emergency Department (ED) attendances and changing health visiting practice (Dec 2023)

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

View iHV short film, ‘Can you see my baby? Health visitors prevent emergencies’ which showcases the vital role of health visitors in reducing A&E attendances for babies and young children. The film hears from parents about the crucial support that their health visitor provided to them, boosting their confidence in managing their child’s health.

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Recruiting student SCPHNs in London A roadmap to success (March 2023)

iHV was delighted to be awarded funding by NHS England Workforce Training and Education Directorate (NHSE WTED) to complete a pathway development review of student Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) recruitment in London.

Experiences were shared through focus groups, 1:1 interviews and surveys. The review drew on implementation science, using Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) to investigate the processes by which new ways of working are embedded in practice and become normalised and ‘taken for granted’.

Our findings have been presented in a report and summarised into three bright and engaging infographics. Whilst this review has provided information on the unique context of student SCPHN recruitment in London, it is also hoped that the findings will provide transferable learning to SCPHN providers and HEIs across the UK who may be experiencing similar issues.

To cite this report, please use the link to the pdf here:

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Insights Report: The role of health visitors in supporting the early intervention/prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD)

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End of project report: Supporting parental awareness of respiratory illness in babies and children through health visiting leadership and delivery of the Healthy Child Programme

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End of project report - Sexual and Reproductive Health (Apr 2022)

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AIMS - Southern Health HV services guide report - November 2021

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AIMS - Southern Health End of project report - November 2021

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Moving Beyond Bean Counting: AIMS discovery phase report to improve digital and analytical capability in health visiting (Jan 2021)

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Changing Conversations: Understanding Behaviour - End of Project report (June 2021)

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Burdett Autism End of Project Report - May 2021

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Insight Report - Sexual and Reproductive Health ( April 2021)

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Tiny Lives End of Project Report - January 2021

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Final evaluation report of the iHV Postnatal Contraception Test and Learn Project

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Insights report - Changing Conversations (Dec 2020)

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PIMH Champions Forum Project Report - April 2020

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Building Community Capacity: a perspective on practice - November 2015

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ASQ Evaluation Project - Evaluation of training for implementation of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire in London Health Visitor Services - September 2015

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NHS HV Retention Project Report - September 2015

iHV Annual Reports

2023 Annual Report

This year’s annual report details the progress and many highlights of the iHV over the last year. Thanks to the support of our members, and the generosity of our grant funders, partners and parents who are experts by experience, we have been able to increase our policy influence and deliver more education, training, resources, networking opportunities, and research than ever before! We have also supported quality improvements in practice through our projects and programmes, including leadership development and sector-led improvement work.

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2022 Annual Report

It seems incredible that we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Institute of Health Visiting. Since our launch as a centre of excellence for health visiting on 28 November 2012, there is so much to celebrate at this important landmark in our journey.

The phenomenal achievements that are summarised in this year’s annual report are testament to the hard work, clear vision and dedication of so many who have played their part in building the Institute into the successful organisation that it is today. In particular, none of this would have been possible without our members – thank you to each and every one of you.

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2021 Annual Report

The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside longstanding challenges facing the health visiting profession formed the backdrop of 2021, the effects of which have touched all our lives. The achievements highlighted in this year’s annual report testify to the hard work of the iHV team, our ever-growing network of partner organisations and supporters, volunteers, members and parents who have shared our journey.

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8th Annual Report

2020 has been a year like none before for health visiting, as it faced the challenges of adapting to a world forced into “lockdown”. The challenges of COVID-19 have been felt both by the Institute and in practice, bringing with them much learning. Our first concern is always the families we support, whom we know this year did not receive either adequate or, in some cases, any support during a crucial time.

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7th Annual Report

It is time to look forward and lay the foundations for a new future for health visiting. We have worked hard with many partners to deliver our evidence-based Vision for the profession and are thrilled by how well it has been received across the system. We are now working across government to seek support for its implementation. The evidence is stark, health visiting does deliver clear public health outcomes in at least fifteen priority areas for children. Stay close – together we can create a better future for babies, children and their families.

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6th Annual Report

Institute has been working hard behind the scenes to raise the concerns of English health visitors, and those of the Institute, regarding the measurable effects of reduced public health budgets on outcomes for all young children and their families. As a result, our voice has been heard by health visiting’s many friends in Parliament, partner organisations, by journalists and by the public.

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5th Annual Report

As the Institute celebrates its 5th year, our team continues to develop and grow, and as a result increase their contributions and impact on the Institute’s core business of improving outcomes for children and families.

We remain endlessly impressed and proud by the work of our amazing members and all that they do everyday. Despite sometimes challenging circumstances, they still give their all to make a difference to children, families and communities.

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4th Annual Report

As we celebrate our fourth birthday, we wonder where four years have gone!
Thank you to each and every one of you who have helped make the Institute the organisation it is today. Without you we could never have got so far, so fast.

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3rd Annual Report

After a standing start just three years ago we can now say with confidence that the Institute is here to stay!

The recurring highlight of this year has been seeing so many of our members becoming local leaders in their communities.

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2nd Annual Report

What a year it’s been! Thrilled to see our innovations liberating the talents of so many in the health visiting profession. This supports our core purpose: to deliver positive health outcomes for children and families nationwide.

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1st Annual Report

Our focus in our first year has been on steady and sustainable development: one of the things the profession needs most.

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Other Reports

Showcasing health visiting in Wales

We wanted to celebrate the extraordinary work of health visitors and their teams in Wales. In collaboration with Amanda Holland, Senior Lecturer, SCPHN Programme Manager, Cardiff University and CPHVA Wales Chair/ CPHVA Wales, we gained support from senior leads of SCPHN and Welsh Government leads for early years to celebrate the health visiting profession in Wales. We asked health visitors to tell us about their journeys during the pandemic and the ways in which they innovated and adapted their practice and the service. These articles set out a snapshot of some of the innovations and workarounds that health visiting teams developed to ensure that families in Wales continued to receive the best possible service during unique times.

Thank you to all those who contributed to these articles and those who supported this project, and particular thanks to Sue Tranka, chief nursing officer for Wales; Karen Jewell, senior midwifery officer, Welsh Government;  Amanda Holland, specifically, for writing these as journal articles; and Community Practitioner for permission to share these articles.

Making history: Health visiting during COVID-19 - Good practice case studies (September 2020)

Making History: health visiting during COVID-19”, a collection of case studies which presents a window into the working lives of health visitors and families navigating the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The case studies, family stories and creative pieces capture the pace and scale of change as health visiting services adapted to working during “lockdown”.


Health Visiting during COVID-19: Unpacking redeployment decisions and support for health visitors’ wellbeing (April 2020)

We asked health visitors across the UK what the big issues were for them under the COVID-19 pandemic.  We used the responses very proactively with government to provide a window into health visiting practice in April 2020 and the support that the profession needs.

Health visiting during COVID-19: An iHV report (April 2020)

On 2 April 2020, the Institute of Health Visiting contacted health visitors through the iHV open Facebook page in an attempt to understand the impact that COVID-19 was having on their practice and the families on their caseloads.

Health visitors were asked to respond to two questions. Responses were received from across the UK and the data from all sources were included in this rapid qualitative analysis and identification of key themes. Based on these key themes, the Institute of Health Visiting made recommendations to support the health visiting workforce maximise their contribution and impact as part of the wider COVID-19 response.

Voices from practice (July 2018)

A snapshot of first hand experiences from health visiting services under pressure,
demonstrating the impacts of cuts to public health budgets on the health visiting workforce and the services that they deliver for babies, children and their families.

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