Royal College of GPs warns over NHS health visitors

The Royal College of GPs says thousands of new health visitors whom the government plans to recruit should not solely be placed in children’s centres.
Royal College of GPs warns over NHS health visitorsOver 4,000 more health visitors have been promised in England, focused in Sure Start centres.

GPs say there is already a breakdown in communication with health visitors who work in the centres, and placing more there would make it worse.

But children’s charities say parents need a more informal approach.

Health visitors have usually worked out of GPs’ surgeries – but the growth of Sure Start children’s centres has seen more moving to them.

The children’s charity 4children says having health visitors based in these centres means there is less need for mothers to use GPs’ surgeries for non-urgent problems and advice.

The Royal College of GPs says its members are seeing a worrying pattern developing, where vital information is not being passed back to them.

It says GPs need to be more actively involved in the the care of mothers during and after their pregnancy, and health visitors have to link in more with GP practices.

Professor Steve Fields of the Royal College of GPs said: “Mums-to-be are not getting the service they could have had five or 10 years ago.

“It is an unintended consequence of children’s centres being established and health visitors moving out of GPs’ surgeries and GPs not being as actively involved the care of mums-to-be during their pregnancy.


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