Report finds too few health visitors in Croydon
Health visitors in the south London borough face caseloads of nearly double recommeded levels.
A report to the board of the south west London cluster of PCTs said “based on actual staff in post” there is one health visitor for every 511 patients, compared to a “recommended caseload” of one per 300.
It said: “Concerns were raised in autumn 2011 on pressures in the health visiting numbers and a consequent impact on health visitor caseloads.”
An immediate review led by Sarah Timms, the then director of nursing for NHS South West London, was undertaken to ensure effective children’s safeguarding.
“The remit of the review was to agree the immediate, medium term and longer terms actions required to ensure firstly, effective, robust children’s safeguarding and secondly, to work towards the implementation of the Health Visitor Implementation Plan 2011-15: A Call to Action.”
The report said there were currently 49.5 “clinically-facing” health visitors in post.
The report noted that the recommended caseload for health visitors working in the borough, based on its demographics, was one per 300 patients. This “requires an establishment of 72.16 clinical facing health visitors”, it said.
A spokeswoman for NHS South West London added: “Throughout London there is a drive to increase the number of health visitors in the capital. In Croydon, all vacant posts are actively being recruited and Croydon Health Services will continue to ensure their daily focus to safeguard children remains robust.”
However, caseloads in other parts of London have previously exceeded 500. According to a report from September 2010, the average caseload per health visitor post in Newham was 770.