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All GP practices to get dedicated health visitor

Every GP practice is to get a ‘named health visitor’ acting as their family liaison officer, it has been announced.

According to new guidance set to come into force from April, health visitors will need to have an ‘agreed schedule of regular contact meetings’ with the practices they cover.

It comes as local authorities are due to assume responsibility for the health visiting service, aimed at providing support to families with children up to five years old, from NHS England from October.

The service specification for 2015/16 said the rule change would ‘return a traditional link’ between practices and health visitors.

It said: ‘The service will provide a named [health visitor] for each GP practice to facilitate liaison, information sharing and joint working in the best interests of families… There will be an agreed schedule of regular contact meetings for collaborative service delivery which must be audited and actioned on a regular basis.’

Family Doctor Association chair Dr Peter Swinyard welcomed the news, saying: ‘What a fantastic idea. We used to know who our health visitor was and even have coffee with them once a month. Now I wouldn’t even know our health visitor if she walked in front of the car. I think it’s high time we went back to the system when we had a primary health care team – which includes health visitors.’

He further called for the role of health visitor to be expanded to also cover patients over the age of five in order to reduce GP workload.

He said: ‘We would be delighted with regular visits, it would be a chance to touch base and it doesn’t have to be a long meeting, just every week or two to say “who are the problem families? Yow can we help them? What do we need to do?” or “this family isn’t bringing any of their children for immunisations, can you go see if there are any problems there?”

‘So I’m absolutely, 100% in favour.’

The scheme follows on from the Government’s pledge of a ‘named GP’ for every patient, included in the 2015/16 GP contract.

Readers' comments (14)

  • It is still going round in circles, we had attached HV until a few years ago when locality working took over. unfortunately this seems half hearted with "‘agreed schedule of regular contact meetings’ " rather than working in house. I am afraid I agree with 08.56 and the article which notes the under supply and 09.00 about the lack of immunisation skills.

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  • HV's already meet with their GP practice where I work, so this is nothing new. In my area HV's hold a GP population caseload rather than a corporate caseload which improves communication with GP's and the patient's experience. All families of concern are discussed regularly to ensure better outcomes are achieved for children and families.

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  • ''Dedicated'' is a very big word

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  • Everythings going round and round in circles like water going down a plug hole.Eventually the water dissapears,with the NHs it the workforce thas disappearing HVs+ Gps alike.Its such a shame thanks to inept political meddling this once great organisation somthing to be proud of is foundering.I for one do not have the fight in me to stand up for it anymore.I feel so sad at the stae of things.Seniors keep telling me thse things go in cycles.At the moment it feels like the "end of days" for th NHS.

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