Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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The Health Visiting Service

The Health Visiting Service

The aim of the health visiting service is to promote the health of the whole community and to help in promoting healthy lifestyles addressing concerns about physical and mental well being.

Health visitors are an integral part of the NHS's community health services. All health visitors are qualified nurses or midwives, with additional special training and experience in child health, and health promotion and education. We offer practical support and advice in a host of diverse situations.

Many people think that health visitors only visit new babies and their families at home - this is not the complete picture. Health visitors aim to promote the health of the whole community. You will find us at your local GP surgery working alongside practice staff, or at the local health centre or child health clinic.

Health visitors are the most accessible health professionals in the community. Contacting your local surgery or health centre will put you in touch with a health visitor who can visit you at home. Health visitors are subject to a professional code of conduct which requires them to act in your best interest.

The health of your baby or young child

Every family with children under 5 has a named health visitor who can advise on everyday difficulties such as teething, sleeping and feeding as well as immunisation programmes, parenting classes, managing difficult behaviour and any special needs your child may have.

Parenting and supporting young families

We are not just there to support your baby but the whole family. Health visitors can

  • advise on employment and benefit rights

  • support fathers-to-be and reassure new fathers about their role.

  • Give information on local support networks including ante-natal classes, leisure activities, mother and toddler groups etc.

  • advise on options for child care available locally.

  • Provide support for single parents.

  • Domestic violence, addressing conflicts within the family giving information and support on parenting and parenting practice.

Your emotional well-being

Health visitors can point the way to specialist help, should you be coping with problems such as unemployment; a recent bereavement; serious illness; an unhappy or violent relationship; family conflicts; disability or settling into a new culture if you have recently arrived from abroad.

Caring for elderly relatives and friends - the special needs of older people

Caring for the elderly can be very rewarding but also highly stressful. There are health visitors who specialise in working with older people and their carers, who can help arrange for respite care from social services and other agencies. Health visitors can also help older people to maintain their independence by providing information about activities in the locality which will help them stay healthy, advising on benefits and the help available from social services to support them in their homes and by visiting people at home.

Living a healthy life

Health visitors can help you to make sense of the conflicting media messages about health lifestyles by providing practical advice on how to stay healthy. They also run health promotion groups including quit smoking groups, keep-fit, parenting and baby massage groups and stress management sessions.

Skilled professionals

Health visitors can also advise and help with HIV/Aids, screening, alcohol and drug misuse, sexual health, contraception, pregnancy, the menopause, disability, housing and homelessness, isolation and depression

Leading the Future

A report of the simulation exercise designed and run by the Office of Public Management to explore how health visiting might develop in the future.

Sharing knowledge and Information

Health Visitors undertake many interesting and useful projects relating to their work. These provide opportunities for sharing information and experiences to aid service development.

Publications by Health Visitors

'Profile' - Newsletter from Hastings/St Leonards Primary Care Trust


Spring 2003

Winter 2003


'Short Supply but Superb' -Hastings and St Leonards Health Visiting -Survey