Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

More male and mixed-race health visitors wanted


The Department of Health says it is seeking to attract more men and people from mixed ethnic backgrounds into health visiting, as part of the national recruitment drive.

The overwhelming majority of health visitors are white, female and approaching retirement, according to a DH equality analysis of the health visiting workforce in England.  

The research, published this week, is intended to inform the government’s ongoing Health Visitor Implementation Plan. The national strategy was published in February 2011 and set the aim of boosting the health visitor workforce by an extra 4,200 by 2015.

As of September 2010, there were 9,995 female health visitors and only 101 males, meaning “approximately 99% of health visitors” were women, the DH analysis said.

“This ratio of male to female health visitors is seen across all strategic health authorities,” it added. “Only registered midwives have a lower ratio of male to female staff with 99.6% of the workforce female in September 2010.”

The report said the DH needed to “ensure that recruitment to the profession targets all eligible individuals, regardless of sex”.

“As part of a national recruitment drive to attract nurses to the profession, we are working with marketing colleagues to mitigate the low proportion of males in the workforce, including use of materials that include case studies from existing male health visitors,” it said.

In addition, it said nationally, around 85% of health visitors were white. However, compared to other nursing professions, health visiting had proportionately higher numbers of staff from ethnic groups other than white, the DH report said.

This pattern was seen across all regions except London, which had a “significantly higher proportion” of health visitors who were black or black British.

The report said 34% of the health visiting workforce in London was black, or black British, and 52% was white.

“We are working with marketing colleagues to encourage nurses from mixed ethnic backgrounds to join the health visitor workforce,” the report said.

The age profile of health visitors shows that the majority were between 45-54 years old, it added.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Without wishing to become embroiled in any claims of racism, sexism or ageism, shouldn't all positions within any organisation be given to the most qualified applicants for the job?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm a nurse with 20 years experience and would love to train as a Health Visitor.

    Unfortunately, the training posts are paid at mid-point of band 5 which means that newly-qualified health visitors are paid at the bottom of band 6, a take-home pay of considerably less than my current top band 5 salary.

    As a man and the breadwinner for my family the figures just don't add up. Perhaps this is something the DH need to consider as well?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I really want to know!

    What do Health Visitors actually do ?

    How does their role differ to that of a social worker?

    Where can I find details of the objectives HV,s work towards and data relating to actual positive Health Related outcomes?
    (Not just number of visits made and cups of tea drunk)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • i tried to apply for a health visitor course and i was told i have to be employed by the NHS to be funded.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 17-Aug-2012 10:32 am

    I tried to do a MH course at the Uni but also had to be employed on a MH unit of the NHS to be funded, and get the relevant experience. There was no option to self fund as obviously the experience was important. I couldn't get a job on a MH ward as a generalist without MH training.
    somebody needs to sort the whole system in the UK and people need to apply common sense to their thinking and think laterally as well as linearly - just a little way outside the square box!

    so much career progression is blocked in this way that many just give up!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.