Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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Vanguard’ Health Visiting Outlined

The pivotal role of health visitors in the NHS has bee reinforced by proposals outlines in the Government’s White Paper – ‘Saving Lives, Our Healthier Nation and the nursing strategy paper Making a Difference says the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA).

Jackie Carnell, Director of the CPVHA said: "The Government has shown that it deeply values the role of health visitors and school nurses, and the work they do in the community. It recognises they are in the vanguard of the fight to eradicate health inequalities. In personally launching ‘Making a Difference, Tony Blair is leading from the front and highlights the importance the Government attaches to the nursing professions as an integral part of its vision for the revitalised NHS. On top of the leading role for community practitioners and health visitors outlined in the White Paper, Saving Lives, these new initiatives really do give us a new dawn for the public health contribution of our members.

The promise of specific career-boosting measures for health visitors, school nurses, and other allied professionals was particularly welcomed by the CPHVA.

The CPHVA also welcomes the strong emphasis now being placed on recruitment and retention, and the proposed task force for each region which will have responsibility for implementing these recruitment policies.

However, the CPHVA warned that there could be a shortage of health visitors within the next decade as present, 27% of health visitors will be eligible to retire within the next four years. The need to attract well-trained people to the profession to replace those standing down should be a top priority.

The White Paper opened up ‘new incentives’ for school nurses and the CPHVA believes that specialist training should be available for those coming into the profession, in addition to the nursing qualification already required.

Ms Carnell added,; The White Paper’s inter-agency approach to health provision is the right way forward, and health visitors and school nurses intend to play their part in supporting the Government’s aims.

NHS News – Bulletin for MSF/CPHVA reps in the NHS

Issue 4., Sept. 1999