The 4,000 new health visitors being recruited in England should not be placed exclusively in children’s centres, the Royal College of GPs has warned.
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The new recruits have been earmarked for work in Sure Start children’s centres, but the Royal College of GPs claims there is already a lack of communication with health visitors who work in the centres, and extra numbers would worsen the situation.
Traditionally, health visitors have worked out of GP surgeries but large numbers of them have moved to the Sure Start facilities as they have increased in number.
The charity 4children says having health visitors at the centres is useful as it means mothers have less need to go to GPs’ surgeries for non-urgent issues, but the Royal College of GPs feels information on new mothers is not always passed back to GPs by health visitors.
Professor Steve Field, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “What we have to do very quickly is to get GPs more engaged during pregnancy and to get the health visitors to link in much more with the practices.”