Health Visitors have a crucial role in ensuring that children have the best possible start in life, and are the backbone of the Healthy Child Programme 0-5 years, in partnership with other health and social care colleagues.
The ‘Health Visitor Implementation Plan 2011–15’ was published in February 2011, and sets out the full range of services that families will be able to expect from health visitors and their teams.
The Plan focuses on training, recruitment & retention, professional development and improved commissioning of the service over a four year period to 2015. A refreshed document, ‘Implementing the Health Visitor Vision: 2013 onwards’, has been recently produced to solidify these aims and describe the role of the various key players in the new NHS landscape.
The Government remains committed to increasing the numbers of Health Visitors by 4,200 by 2015. It is envisaged that this bigger, rejuvenated workforce will create improvements in the quality of the health visiting service for children and families with more targeted and tailored support for those who need it.
From April 2013, NHS England assumed responsibility for health visiting workforce growth and service transformation via the NHS Mandate and Section 7A agreement, and is fully committed to delivery of the challenging workforce targets. At the same time Health Education England assumed responsibility for health visitor training. The two organisations work in strong partnership through joint governance arrangements.
As a single national organisation however, NHS England will be responsible for ensuring that services are commissioned in ways that support consistency not centralisation; consistency in ensuring high standards of quality and outcomes across the country, yet still allowing flexibility for local tailoring of needs.
NHS England will work through its national, regional and local area teams to discharge these responsibilities. The Area Teams will be working very closely with local partners through Health and Wellbeing Boards and Children’s Partnerships to help achieve the necessary local coordination of commissioning of services for children and in readiness for the handover of commissioning responsibilities to local authorities in 2015.
A national core service specification and performance report framework have been developed and resource has been identified to support both commissioners and providers in delivery.
For more information on the Health Visiting Programme please contact:
Amanda Sharma, Project Officer – Public Health, Nursing Directorate, NHS England at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabrina Susan Fuller, Head of Health Improvement, Nursing Directorate, NHS England, at: email@example.com