Stemming the flow of health visitors leaving the NHS is a priority in the aftermath of the Baby P scandal, health secretary Andy Burnham has told the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) conference.
Announcing a review of NHS children’s services, he pledged that the lessons of the Baby P tragedy would be learnt and that the number of health visitors across the country will be increased.
The health secretary said that although every newborn baby is visited by a health professional, NHS figures show that one full-time health visitor job is lost every day.
However, he added: “I expect to see a marked increase in the number of health visitors in the coming period.
“We want to see every area in the country with enough health visitors on the ground to provide a good healthy child programme - that’s the promise I’ve made.”
He said that every primary care trust will be obliged to take control and publish the number of health visitors on their books and their average case loads.
“We do need to give people the power at a local level to spend money where they think the priorities are,” he added.
Can an increase in health visitor numbers prevent a repeat of the Baby P case?