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Journalist becomes president of health visitor union


The Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee has been appointed as the new president of the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association.

The association is part of union Unite. The announcement was made today at the 2014 CPHVA Awards in London.

“Health visitors play an enormously important role in the lives of young children and their families”

Polly Toynbee

Ms Toynbee said: “I am honoured to be asked to be president of Unite/CPHVA at a time when the health visiting profession is receiving a welcome infusion of recruits.

“Health visitors play an enormously important role in the lives of young children and their families.

“The work they do in relation to child development and well-being, and working with mothers – and fathers – are key in starting to iron out glaring health inequalities that successive governments have failed to tackle to any great degree.”

Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi said: “Having Polly accept this position is a significant event in the CPHVA’s long history.

“Her wealth of experience and expertise will be so valuable to the association in ensuring that our members are able to provide the best services to children

Known for her left-wing views, Ms Toynbee joined the The Guardian as a columnist in 1998.

Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee

She was formerly BBC social affairs editor, columnist and associate editor of the Independent, co-editor of the Washington Monthly and a reporter and feature writer for the Observer.

She also stood as a candidate for the Social Democratic Party – better known as the SDP – in the 1983 generla election but came third. She subsequently rejoined the Labour Party after the creation of the Liberal Democrats.

Ms Toynbee’s presidency comes at a time when the government’s pledge to create 4,200 extra health visitors during  the course of this parliament will come under scrutiny in the run-up to next year’s general election.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Excellent to see someone with a social conscience in such a key role. Effective public health services like health visiting are still neglected by the NHS commissioning plans and the issue needs highlighting with energy and political awareness.

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  • I think this is fantastic news! It can only add weight to the importance of having a strong health visiting service.

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  • Yeah, I'm sure Polly knows as much about Health Visiting as I do: nowt!

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