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Health: Children

Question for Department of Health

UIN 45504, tabled on 7 September 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of changes in the availability of health visiting and school nursing services on health outcomes for children and young people; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

16 September 2016

The Government is committed to achieving good health outcomes for children and young people. Local authorities are responsible for commissioning appropriate services for 0-19 year olds in their areas, including health visiting and school nursing. Public Health England monitors a range of health outcomes for children, provided by Local authorities, including the health visiting services’ high impact actions, such as reducing smoking in pregnancy and managing a healthy weight in 4-5 year olds. The majority of these show a steady state of improvement[1].

Whilst no similar collection of data is made for school nursing services, and therefore no assessment has been made, school nurses are key providers of both the National Child Measurement Programme and childhood immunisations, both of which show significant uptake rates[2].

Both the Health Visitor Programme and School Nurse Programme, which concluded in 2015, introduced new service models for both professions to help develop improved access, user experience and outcomes, as well as reducing health inequalities. The Health Visitor programme also saw the workforce increase considerably enabling more families to be reached. Both professional groups indicate the service models have provided increased awareness of the service by users and a better structured delivery.

[1] Chimat Early Years Profiles

[2] National Child Measurement Programme