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Trainee health visitors warn minister there are no jobs

  • 5 Comments

Trainee health visitors have told public health minister Anne Milton they fear they will be unable to find a job when they qualify this September, despite a government pledge to boost recruitment.

The trainees raised their concerns with the minister and deputy chief nursing officer Viv Bennett during a webchat today on nursingtimes.net.

Former district nurse Ms Milton spent nearly 40 minutes taking questions about the government’s health visiting strategy. The plan was published in February and includes a commitment to recruit an extra 4,200 health visitors by 2014 – some of whom are expected to be retrained from the existing nursing workforce.

But one contributor currently in the final semester of health visitor training told Ms Milton the plan felt like “mere rhetoric at grassroots level”, and said there were no jobs to go to. “I have been a nurse for 21 years and this is the first time I have faced unemployment,” they said.

Another commenter told the minister more trainees were being taken on by her primary care trust, even though the current cohort of trainees had no job to go to.

Ms Milton insisted PCTs and strategic health authorities had the money to fund the extra posts and urged trainees and health visitors to contact her if they experienced local problems with training, placements or jobs.

However, Nursing Times has revealed at least one SHA is diverting funding away from training for nurses and other health professionals to meet the health visitor target.

As of last Friday, there are only 17 organisations currently advertising health visitor posts on the NHS Jobs website – on average one each.

Ms Milton and Ms Bennett were also asked about routes back into the profession. If a health visitor is still on the register they can be inducted back into the profession by working with a local HV team; if not they can take a return to practice course lasting between three and six months.

Anyone interested in becoming a health visitor or with concerns about the health visitor programme in their area can get in touch with Ms Milton and Ms Bennett via healthvisiting@dh.gsi.gov.uk.

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • I really hope that something is done for the Student Health Visitors who are about to qualify ! The government are very good at making empty promises, now they need deliver !

    As we are too often told, student health visitors are "hand picked" and yet by local trusts not offering positions we are losing these talented practitioners to other trusts!

    I agree whole heartedly with the comments made by the above student health visitor and think it shows how passionate these people are about health visiting already, although not yet qualified!

    These trusts need to be named and shames and made an example of.

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  • I wish the Health Visiting Students the very best of luck in their quest for jobs. It appears that a situation which has become widespread within the NHS, is also affecting them. i.e. No Jobs. Ms. Milton has certainly sold out the nursing profession.

    I think particularly of the newly qualified nurses who are facing extreme challenges just trying to find their first nursing post in this country. I wonder who will be left to look after us when they have all buzzed off abroad to nurse where jobs may be more readily available. We are under attack from all sides and the goverment cuts have only just begun to bite. What are we going to do about it? I hope we are not just going to moan and leave it at that.


    Anonymous | 15-May-2011 9:22 am

    I agree for the most part with your comments. However, I have one little niggle.
    " As we are too often told, student health visitors are "hand picked" and yet by local trusts not offering positions we are losing these talented practitioners to other trusts!"

    I have never heard or considered Health Visitors to be "hand picked". We are a diverse profession with many highly skilled nurses working in myriad settings, who have gained Masters degrees and specialist qualifications in their fields. We are losing too many talented practitioners in all areas.

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  • Anonymous | 16-May-2011 1:29 am

    I wish the Health Visiting Students the very best of luck in their quest for jobs. It appears that a situation which has become widespread within the NHS, is also affecting them. i.e. No Jobs. Ms. Milton has certainly sold out the nursing profession.

    Exactly what I had in mind. No jobs in the NHS anywhere, except maybe in top management

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  • I hope that these extra Health Visitors are allowed to practice as Health Visitors and not end up being used as Social Workers and cheap managers as they have slowly evolved into. It is time we returned Health Visitng to what it does best and provide support for all those families that want day to day support, instead of only providing a basic service and not the what parents have indicated they really want as outlined by netmums

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  • I am a qualified nurse, working in the community setting, for several years i have been looking into the possibility of funding for the public health degree. Unfortunately as these places are few and far between i have been unsuccessful to date. I am now considering the possibility of self funding as this is something i am extremely keen to pursue. Would be very greatful for any advise on this.

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