Increasing the number of health visitors has been named as one of the government’s key priorities for the NHS during the coming year in new guidance for health service managers.
The NHS operating framework is published annually and sets out guidance for the coming year on the NHS’ priorities, how they should be achieved and how performance will be measured.
The document sets out the expansion of the health visitor workforce and the Family Nurse Partnership programme as one of five key priorities for 2012-13.
It orders primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to work together to increase the number of training places and jobs available to meet the target of a 50% increase in the workforce by 2015.
Nursing Times has previously reported fears that newly qualified health visitors may struggle to find jobs, as the number of new posts created was not keeping pace with the number of new training places.
However, the framework warns PCTs they must “ensure that new health visitors coming through the expanded training pipeline are effectively supported and deployed”.
It also puts the onus on PCTs to continue driving the expansion of the Family Nurse Partnership programme to cater for 13,000 families by April 2015 “to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable first time teenage mothers and their children”.
The other key priorities are dementia and the care of older people, carers, military and veteran health and the development of a focus on patient outcomes rather than targets.