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Parenting group slams health visitor 'postcode lottery'

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England’s children face a postcode lottery that decides how often they are seen by health visitors, according to a parenting group.

England’s children face a postcode lottery that decides how often they are seen by health visitors, according to a parenting group.

Research into English health trusts showed significant differences in the number of health visitors across the country, the Family and Parenting Institute (FPI) said.

This was particularly noticeable between London and the North, it said, with County Durham Primary Care Trust scoring top marks with one health visitor for every 165 children under five, while Lambeth PCT came bottom, having one visitor for every 894 children.

A survey from the FPI showed that of the 10 PCTs with the lowest number of health visitors, eight of them were in London.

The FPI said the data show a ‘clear North-South divide in the health visiting service’.

Ideally, health visitors should have no more than 250 children on their books, according to recommendations from the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA).

The FPI said its figures showed that only 15 of the 136 respondents met that target.

The top five performing PCTs in England in respect to health visitors were County Durham, Darlington, Bournemouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Westminster.

Trailing behind were Lambeth, Barnet PCT, Haringey Teaching PCT, Barking and Dagenham PCT and Coventry Teaching PCT.

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