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This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Health visiting: transforming services, improving outcomes and reducing inequalities by Viv Bennett

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Blogs, health visiting programme

Viv portraitThe national health visiting programme concludes in June 2015. The aims of the programme are to increase capacity and capability in health visitors and teams, revitalise the profession and develop leadership, to improve family and community access and experience of services, to improve health outcomes and contribute to reducing health inequalities. We have made huge progress due to the hard work and passion of so many people across the whole system who have pulled together to make positive changes.

From 1st April professional leadership of health visiting will move to Public Health England. In PHE we have ‘ensuring every child has the best start in life’ as one of our seven national priorities.  We will build on the national programme, working with local authorities, the NHS and the profession to promote successful, sustainable services for children families and communities.

A month ago, we focused on how the transformed service is improving parent experience and access to services. You can see a summary of the week on our storify. This week, we’re focusing on how the health visiting service has changed to improve outcomes and help tackle health inequalities.

The public health outcomes framework articulates the Government priority to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce differences in life expectancy between communities. This means improving the wider determinants of health, making progress on health improvement and protection, and preventing premature mortality. All the evidence shows what happens in the early years of life impacts on health outcomes and life chances throughout the life course. So, giving every child the best possible start is vital for achieving improved health in our society and health visiting, and school nursing services, play a key role in this.

What does a transformed health service look like?

We’re describing the new service model as the 4, 5, 6 model. It describes the four levels of service, from universal to targeted based on need, five universal health visiting reviews and six high impact areas where health visitors are known to have the biggest impact on outcome measures in key stages of development.

This model is the:

  • Four progressive tiers of health visiting practice – building community capacity; the universal elements of the Healthy Child Programme (HCP); targeted interventions to meet identified need, and partnership working to meet complex needs
  • Five universal HCP checks and reviews in line with the proposed mandate of local authority commissioning of the five universal checks and reviews. A significant addition to the performance report is the percentage of children who receive a six to eight week review.
  •  The six high impact areas – maternal mental health, transition to parenthood, breastfeeding, healthy weight, child development and managing minor illness/accident prevention

Initial figures show that this transformation is already improving outcomes (Early Years Profile). Sabrina Fuller from NHS England has already blogged on this site about improvements in access to services, notably in the antenatal period. This week, she will be blogging about how we are performing against outcome measures.

What’s coming up?

There will be blogs and case studies from health visitors and providers, charities Health Visiting Programme Partners including Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and Twitter chats and threads to get views and ideas

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #healthvisiting or join in one of our Twitterchats:

#iHVForum Twitterchat on Monday 2nd March: 8-9pm

#CPHVAtt on Tuesday 3rd March: 7-8pm



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