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Kirsty Jacques

iHV Expert Adviser: SEND

BSc (hons) pre-reg Midwifery, PG dip SCPHN HV, MSc SCPHN HV

Kirsty Jacques is a specialist community public health nurse who holds the role of Health Visitor Clinical Lead for SEND in West and South Hertfordshire and iHV Expert Adviser for SEND.

Kirsty became interested in supporting babies and children with SEND through her own experience of having a daughter with ASD and ADHD. Kirsty’s experiences as a parent of a child with additional needs, and of accessing services, has given her great insight. Kirsty’s passion is to improve the experience of babies and children with SEND and their families, to ensure equity of care is offered to all children with additional needs. Kirsty strives to ensure all babies and children with SEND are diagnosed early and are supported with early, evidence-based interventions, to improve outcomes and reduce the incidences of unmet health needs in adulthood.

Kirsty began her nursing career working as a Midwife in Hertfordshire. She then trained as a Health Visitor and qualified in 2015. Kirsty has worked in different areas of Hertfordshire since qualifying, which has broadened her field of practice. During Kirsty’s early career as a Health Visitor, she championed children with SEND and supported her colleagues with evidence-based and needs-led support across Hertfordshire.

Kirsty successfully completed her MSc in her SCPHN programme in 2019, through writing a dissertation on “Non-Medical Prescribing Policy”. Kirsty’s dissertation focused on whether non–medical prescribing policy supported Health Visitors to prescribe in practice. Following completion of her dissertation, Kirsty has developed an interest in the analysis and development of policies.

In 2021 Kirsty was successfully appointed as ‘Health Visitor, Clinical Lead for SEND’ at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust alongside her colleague, Nikki Freeman (also iHV Expert Advise for SEND). Kirsty and Nikki provide clinical leadership for SEND for the 0–5 years Public Health Nurse service across Hertfordshire.

Since coming into post, Kirsty and Nikki have been instrumental in leading on the following workstreams for the 0-5 Public Nurse Service across Hertfordshire:

  • Creating a SEND resource directory
  • Further developing the 0-5 SEND pathway
  • Developing SEND competencies for practitioners
  • Developing standard operating procedures
  • Developing and delivering training so practitioners are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively support children with SEND and their families
  • Improving communication across care pathways

As a Health Visitor Clinical Lead for SEND in Hertfordshire, Kirsty continues to work as a frontline health visitor and holds a caseload of children with complex needs and disabilities.

Kirsty highlights a very proud moment as Health Visitor Clinical Lead for SEND, whereby she jointly planned, led and delivered an integrated, early years SEND health conference: ‘Early intervention to reduce health inequalities’. The event was a huge success, with over 150 delegates attending from across the country and Kirsty highlights this as ‘one of our greatest achievements so far’.

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