Health visiting services in Hampshire are to be delivered through a new partnership between a local NHS trust and national charity in a model that is thought to be “one of the first of its kind” in the country.
From spring 2017, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust will work with UK children’s charity Barnardo’s to provide support to families with children aged 0-5 years old.
Southern Health, which is currently commissioned by Hampshire County Council to provide health visiting services through a £17.6 million contract for 2016/17, will continue to run the service and family nurse partnership scheme next year.
“This new contract is one of the first of its kind in the country, where an existing health provider works alongside a leading charity”
The contract for 2017/18 - to which the council has allocated £58.1 million to cover a possible two-year further extension - will ensure all new mothers and young children in Hampshire receive the standard five health visitors checks before the child reaches two and a half years old.
Extra support from health visitors and nursery nurses will also be provided to families, as well as referrals to specialist services in more complex cases.
Meanwhile Barnardo’s will identify and help to provide additional local community support for families to help with their emotional and physical health needs.
They will also encourage people to volunteer to help provide extra support through initiatives such as befriending schemes or by helping families access services.
Hampshire County Council’s executive member for public health, Patricia Stallard, said: “This new contract is one of the first of its kind in the country, where an existing health provider works alongside a leading charity to ensure the youngest members of our society have the best possible start in life.
”We are excited about developing a new partnership with Barnardo’s enabling us to offer more community based group work to support families with health and emotional wellbeing”
“The new contract is all about helping parents to be successful, and builds on the very effective support already provided to new parents and young children in Hampshire.”
Julie Dawes, interim chief executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I firmly believe that we can continue to deliver the best quality services for Hampshire’s children and families with our skilled and experienced health visitors, nursery nurses and family nurse partnership team.
“We are excited about developing a new partnership with Barnardo’s enabling us to offer more community based group work to support families with health and emotional wellbeing.”
Rachel McKernan, assistant director for children’s services at Barnardo’s, said the charity was “thrilled” to be working with the council and Southern Health.
“Barnardo’s believes in children and we know that stronger communities support stronger families. We will be using our experience and expertise to develop community based support and services for families that promote children’s healthy development in the early years,” she said.