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Health visitors to be trained to spot postnatal depression


New health visitors are to recieve “enhanced training” to help mothers with postnatal depression, te government has announced.

Under the national health visitor programme, launched last year, the government committed to recruiting thousands of extra health visitors in order to try and reduce heavy caseloads and reverse years of workforce decline.

It has now announced that they will also be trained to spot the early symptoms of postnatal depression and to support parents who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a baby.

Announcing the move, health secretary Andrew Lansley said the 4,200 new health visitors would work with midwives to provide joint care for new parents focused on “emotional wellbeing”.

They will be able to access new evidence and given extra training, enabling them to identify mothers who need extra support.

In cases where more help is needed, health visitors will be able to refer parents to counselling services as part of a £400m government investment in psychological and talking therapies.

Services will be rated by parents to find out how well the NHS looks after those who need emotional support.

As part of the friends and family test unveiled earlier this year, patients will be asked to rate their care to help the NHS improve.

Mr Lansley said: “No woman should have to cope with postnatal depression without help and support. The changes we are putting in place today will mean that the NHS is providing even more support to women who have this serious condition.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • Oh - this is good. It was not long ago that the health visitors were I work were told by a manager that they were not to spend time on post natal depression as women just get over it. They protested but were told to shut up and put up.

    Of course NHS managers are fantastic at making changes to suit them. New HV's - that is just a chance to employ HV's on a lower band or payscale at least.

    If there was an award for false economy the NHS would win by a mile.

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  • "£400 government investment in psychological and talking therapies" - lets hope that's a typo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • I've considered training as a health visitor but have been put off because of the pay cut I would face. I'm a top band 5 staff nurse in A&E. Health visitor training posts are paid at mid-point of band 5 (without any unsocial hours enhancements) and newly-qualified health visitors are paid at the bottom of band 6. I'd end up worse off despite being promoted!

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  • Anonymous | 19-May-2012 5:51 am

    I always thought Health Visitors were senior members of the profession.

    I also assumed that recognition and support of mothers with post natal depression and other family difficulties which might affect their well being and that of their children and new born babies is an integral part of their job as recognising depression in patients is with all registered nurses.

    The above comments are interesting and enlightening.

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