Section 1

National Context

Policy

The Healthy Child Programme (HCP) Pregnancy and the first five years of life (DH Oct 2009) set out the key prioritise for both commissioners and providers in the delivery of a universal preventive service at the same time 245 as focusing on vulnerable babies, children and families.

In February 2011 the publication of The Health Visitor Implementation Plan 2011-15 “A Call to Action” (Department of Health (DH) Feb 2011) set out the full range of services that families will be able to expect from health visitors and their teams, depending on their needs.

A key deliverable within A Call to Action was the creation of a bigger, rejuvenated workforce with an extra 4,200 (51.9%) health visitors in England by 2015 and an improvement in the quality of the health visiting service for children and families.

A Call to Action clearly articulated that the delivery of the HCP would be led, at a local level, by Health Visitors with increasing emphasis on partnership working and the integration of services where appropriate with the intention of bringing together Sure Start Children’s Centre staff, GP’s, Midwives, a range of community nurses and other relevant services dependent on local needs. At the same time the health visiting service will provide or be the gatekeeper to other services that families may need.

The delivery of the HCP is vital as it is key in delivering Public Service Agreements for improving the health and wellbeing of children; makes a crucial contribution to the Every Child Matters (HM Government 2004) and National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services (DH 2004) outcomes; and feeds directly into The Children’s Plan (Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2007) and locally driven Children’s Plans.