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DH pledges to boost health visitor numbers by 50%

By Lilian Anekwe

The Department of Health has promised to boost primary care by funding the recruitment of 4,200 more health visitors.

Public health minister Anne Milton said the recruitment drive would increase the number of health visitors working in primary care by nearly 50%.

Ms Milton told the Unite Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) conference today in Harrogate this week the funding had been confirmed in the comprehensive spending review.

‘The health visiting profession has been eroded dramatically over the past decade. That's why we are funding 4,200 new posts and improving training.

‘We need to attract new people into the profession and to keep the health visitors we have. We will fund a national recruitment drive that will show the vital work health visitors do in supporting families and boosting public health.'

Karen Reay the national officer for health for the union Unite, which has campaigned for an extra 8,000 health visitors, said the announcement was 'a beacon of light in a tidal wave of social deprivation'.

The Department of Health recommends health visitors have a maximum caseload of 300 children each, but a Pulse investigation found that caseloads in 43 of the 53 primary care organisations surveyed were above recommended levels.

Health visitor