Health Visiting Monthly News May 2015

Welcome to May’s Health Visiting Monthly News. 


Health Visitor Programme Success

This edition of the monthly news is our first in the new phase of health visiting development, following the end of the HV programme in March. The programme has been a great success in the East of England with indicative data for March showing an increase of over 540 wte HV’s employed across the East of England since the lowest recorded point in August 2011. This is an increase of 74% and just above the initial target set of 1268 wte health visitors. During the programme over 800 health visitors have successfully qualified which demonstrates the dedication and hard work of every single person in the health visiting teams and our partner universities. At the same time as achieving this massive growth in the workforce, health visiting teams have worked to transform their service offer to children, families and communities.

We are very lucky in the East of England to be able to continue working alongside health visitors and have received agreement for the continuation of a small programme team until the end of March 16, through the transition to Local Authority commissioning and beyond. We are delighted to continue working with you all.

Being a Practice Teacher – what it means to me……

EOE HV Awards 2015 (102)editedThis year I received an award from Health Education East of England and was asked to write about the role of the Practice Teacher and what it has meant to me over the last 15 years. ……

What do you remember about your PT? Thoughts about mine who provided a blueprint for care and child focus are enshrined in my mind. In the colder months she would ask for a cot blanket to be placed on the baby scales before the blue roll. What attention to detail must this have meant for the infant and parents?  “That little word ‘’Support’ is so important” she would say. Her unswerving patience with my initial attempts at linking weird and odd bits of theory with practice mirrored her approach to clients. When I feel a mite frustrated with students I recollect this.

I hadn’t even thought about being a PT until one of the then current PTs insisted I should, so I did.  It was the most incredible year; opening my mind to Dewey, Midgely, Schon and Benner. Thank you to fate, I learned alongside my first outstanding student.

After several years of one student each intake, the ‘Call to Action’ sent everything haywire – 4 students – 4 mentors. Meetings with fellow PTs, management and the universities ensued.  Days on the office floor with a wall planner, my diary and the curriculum tested the forbearance of my office colleagues. I conceived an idea of monthly Mentors’ Moots (derived from the idea of an Anglo Saxon debating meeting) to share thoughts about students and practice. These Moots were beyond superlatives in the confirmation of the knowledge and energy of the mentors who attended. One (initially reluctant) mentor said this was the best year of her career. What a triumph!

One of my past students, commenting on the award cheekily said …’surely this means all your students are the best!!!’ I thought well she is the best (as are they all; not just mine) but I am not Miss Jean Brodie. I’m part of something much bigger; a collective consciousness pursuing high standards in health visiting for the children and parents we work with. Each SCPHN cohort invigorates this. Recognition goes to the generations of students, mentors and PTs and those around them.

Maggie Ambrose

Practice Teacher, Peterborough. CPFT.


Career Development Framework for Health Visitors

This new framework provides a resource to health visitors to remain engaged with their careers and to inspire and motivate further career development.

It was developed by the Institute of Health Visiting on behalf of Health Education England and the Department of Health.

Download the Career Development Framework for Health Visitors

Developing Resilience Frameworks

Two new frameworks have just been published on developing resilience – one for health visitors (practitioners), and one for employers, managers and team leaders.

“Developing Resilience in Practice: A Health Visiting Framework” provides a resource to help health visitors to be resilient – they also need to remain compassionate to the suffering and distress they encounter.

If they can remain both resilient and compassionate they will be able to continue to work effectively with children and families to maximise health outcomes.

“Developing Resilience in the Workforce: A Health Visiting Framework Guide for Employers, Managers and Team Leaders” presents a Resilience Framework to help organisations support their health visitors and foster their resilience in the workplace.

Although there is much that health visitors can do to support their personal resilience, primarily it is the responsibility of employers to create a working environment that protects the emotional well-being of its staff. This starts with compassionate leaders who develop compassionate organisations where the health and emotional well-being of staff is central to the realisation of the overall vision.

HVeCOP Matters – Introducing HVeCOP Champions!

The newsletter for HVeCOP is now out – and introduces the new HVeCOP Champions.

From May 1st we will have a team of iHV Fellows who are all expert and innovative practitioners in their specialist fields as a presence on the evidence hub.  They are linked to the 6 High Impact Topic Areas closest to their specialism.

Read the HVeCOP Matters newsletter

Useful Information


Information Sharing Matters – e-learning for health & early years 

The Information Sharing Matters, an e-learning programme for health professionals and the early years workforce, is now live.

Visit<> to access the free resource and for the RCPCH news item.

Please share this programme within your organisation, on social media (@rcpchtweets is our handle) and with colleagues in health and early years.

Childhood Obesity – One Epidemic or Two?

New research has indicated that obesity in children has quite different causes at different ages. The research, led by the University of Exeter Medical School and part of the internationally respected EarlyBird study, could have far-reaching implications for attempts to reduce the global epidemic of childhood obesity, as it indicates that very different approaches may be needed at various stages of development.

In a study published today (Monday April 27) in the International Journal of Obesity, scientists compared data on contemporary children with those of the 1980’s. They discovered that the rise in obesity among very young children has been largely restricted to the minority with obese parents. Toddlers as a whole have not changed. By contrast, obesity among adolescents has not been restricted to those with obese parents, but has occurred across the entire age group.

Calculation of Baby’s Age

An interesting debate has been happening on Senate about how we calculate how many days old a baby is.

Dr Helen Bedford signposted everyone to the Newborn Blood Spot Screening Programme guidance and clarified that Day of Birth is Day 0, this is vitally important to ensure that there is fidelity in the newborn screening programme.

The documentation for the newborn blood spot screening programme can be found in the following link.

Other interesting publications published over the last couple of months are:

Guide to Community Centered Approaches for Health and Wellbeing.

It gives evidence about how community capacity building helps, and identifies many different approach,  e.g., breast feeding support, peer and volunteer support etc.

Click on the link below for the full publication 

Early Intervention Foundation: Review of what works to improve the quality of parent-child interactions from conception to age 5 

Rapid Review to Update Evidence for the Healthy Child Programme 0-5

East of England

Specialist Community Public Health Nurse Research Network

A new research group that brings together those in the East of England involved in or developing research that can strengthen the knowledge base relevant to health visitor and school nurse practice. The group will be co-facilitated by Chris Gordon (UCS), Denise Knight (UH) and Amanda Drye (ARU).

We welcome new and experienced SCPHN researchers and hope to support the development of a vibrant forum where ideas are shared, learnt and encouraged. Our goal is to see the growth in new research relationships that can strengthen research practice in health visiting and school nursing.

Inaugural MeetingFriday 22nd May     1300 – 1500


The Health Building Anglia Ruskin University


1300 – 1330 – group purpose and terms of reference

1330 – 1400 – Examples of research in progress Nationally & Locally

1400 – 1500 – How the group support continuing research in SCPHN the next steps

Please confirm your attendance to help with arrangements for offering refreshments

Please contact Chris Gordon at:

The following link provides information about getting to the Anglia Ruskin University Health Building:


Health visitor southern share and learn network meeting 

Last week NHS Employers held the latest southern health visitor share and learn meeting in London.  The meeting was attended by 18 health visitor service managers from providers across London and the south of England.  Attendees heard presentations from networks members including Guys and St. Thomas’ and how they have grown their workforce capacity and capability in recent years

– Several key themes emerged during the course of the meeting which are listed below:- The issue of retaining health visitors was a recurring theme for providers.  Despite some providers introducing innovative employment practices, such as condensed working hours, they are still struggling to retain staff – particularly newly qualified health visitors.  Providers listed several reasons for this including differences between inner and outer London weighting and health visitors training in London and then heading to other parts of the country to work. Maternity leave was also quoted by several providers as having an impact on their workforce numbers

– Several providers referenced the challenge of having a newly qualified workforce and the need to put particular effort in to retaining and developing them during their first year as a health visitor. NHS Employers highlighted the resources that are available to support health visitors in their CPD, including ones produced by the Institute of Health Visitors.

– Providers also discussed the introduction of restorative supervision and the positive impact this is having in some provider organisations by giving health visitors an opportunity to talk through any challenges they may be facing.

The next meetings of the northern and southern network are taking place on the 30th June and the 2 July and we will report back the key themes to you all.


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