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Health Visitors: Schools

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the likely cost of introducing a universal health visitors programme in schools. (269197)

The Health Visiting service is a universal service. Work continues to strengthen the service and maximise its effectiveness. The universal programme for 0-5 year olds, the Healthy Child Programme (formerly the Child Health Promotion Programme), led by health visitors, was set out in updated guidance issued in March 2008. The associated impact assessment estimated the additional costs of introducing new assessments of all pregnant women and under-fives for obesity risks at £20 million per annum, greatly outweighed by the estimated benefits.

In Healthy Lives, Brighter Futures, the strategy for children and young people's health, the Government set out the intention to ensure that every Sure Start Children's Centre has access to a named health visitor to work as part of the team and oversee the health work of the centre.

The new Action on Health Visiting programme, announced on 12 March, will look further at the key roles of health visitors and the action needed on skills, development and career opportunities to ensure the national health service is able to recruit and retain the right workforce. We anticipate that this will require growth in health visitor numbers. It is for local areas to decide the skill mix of teams according to population needs.

The Impact Assessment: for the Child Health Promotion Programme may be found at:

A copy has been placed in the Library.