Action to ease health visitor shortage
- Credit: Archant
EXTRA health visitors are being trained up in North Somerset to cope with a huge shortage of staff in the area.
Last year four new health visitors were being trained to take on roles in the district, but this year the number has tripled.
The shortage is nationwide and the Government has launched a national campaign to ensure there are an additional 4,200 health visitors in post by 2015.
The drive has been sparked by new research which shows how vital support services are to families during the early years.
Sue James, business manager for children’s services at North Somerset Community Partnership, said: “For a while there wasn’t felt to be a strong role for health visitors, but there’s now evidence to prove the value of this provision.
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“Health visitors are vitally important. We provide a universal service for all children under five.
“We see every child when it’s born or moves into the area and assess the child and family to make sure their needs are being supported.
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“We also encourage people to attend groups and baby clinics where they can access all sorts of advice around baby development.
“Although we don’t visit people all the time we are always accessible. And even if it’s the end of the clinic, we will never turn anyone away.
Health visitors play a vital role in making sure babies are developing well and families have the support they need.
The professionals also offer higher levels of support if families are struggling and need more help.
To train as a health visitor you must be a qualified, registered nurse, midwife or mental health nurse.
Mrs James said: “When a service has been allowed to run down nationally, it’s undoubtedly a challenge for those left in the profession.
“Obviously our health visitors are working very hard and they have regular supervision to ensure they are coping with the workload.”
There are currently 25 health visitors covering North Somerset, but by 2015 there should be 44 serving the district.
To find out more about health visitors and the services they provide visit www.nscp-communityhealth.co.uk/list-of-services/health-visit ing-service