Trust helps train up new health visitors

Crown Copyright
Crown Copyright

A team of future health visitors, sponsored to train in Lincolnshire, will start studying for their qualification this month.

The intake will be the latest supported by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) as part of a national recruitment drive to increase the number of health visitors available to support families.

Health visitors provide care, advice and support to families from pre-birth and at regular intervals until the child starts school. They can help parents on issues including child development, breastfeeding, introducing solid foods, immunisations and behaviour.

Since 2012, LCHS has pledged to sponsor 45 places on honours degree courses at universities in Sheffield and Leicester to train new health visitors.

The students, already qualified nurses, will complete the year-long public health course to qualify as a health visitor. The courses allow students to divide their time between academic study and hands-on clinical practice, supported by an experienced mentor.

The January cohort will account for the final 10 places out of the 45, while 15 health visitors from previous cohorts have already qualified and started working.

Anita Wood, Health Visiting Strategic Lead for LCHS, said: “Health visitors can help families give children the best possible start in life. By having a greater number, we hope to make an even bigger difference as these children develop and grow.

“Over the past 18 months, we have been working to ensure we have a strong calibre of students to sponsor through the course, most of whom are now working full-time with the service.

“In addition, we have been using the opportunity to develop the services we offer and have undertaken a number of successful pilots, including developing our antenatal contacts with families coming into the health visiting service; text reminders for parents with children attending two-year reviews, and extra training for health visitors on supporting maternal mental health.”

Laura Horton has completed her health visiting training in the Boston area. She said: “This last year has been an immense learning curve for me. The Boston Health Visiting Team have all been supportive and I feel that being a health visiting student has been a very positive experience. I have been lucky to gain a wide array of experiences that many other student health visitors do not get the opportunity to experience.”